America Supports You: Northwest Commemorates WWII 60th Anniversary
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 22, 2005 The Department of Defense World War II 60th Anniversary Commemoration Committee, in conjunction with "America's Vancouver" in Washington State, will host a commemorative event this weekend recognizing World War II veterans, their families and those who served on the home front for their service and sacrifice.
The commemoration will be Aug. 28 at 1:00 p.m. at the Vancouver National Historic Reserve, home of Vancouver Barracks, Fort Vancouver and Pearson Airfield.
The event is free and open to the public. No tickets or advanced reservations are required. The Pacific Northwest event is the final of six regional events across the United States to honor World War II veterans from all services and to let them know a grateful nation will never forget their contributions. Previous commemorations were held in Tampa, San Antonio, San Diego, Chicago and Boston.
Beginning at 11 a.m. Aug. 28, all WWII veterans attending the commemoration will receive a special WWII Veteran Badge and the Honorable Service Lapel Pin, more commonly referred to as "the Ruptured Duck." All military services, U.S. Coast Guard and Merchant Marine veterans will be represented by one of their own WWII veterans during the commemoration ceremony and honored on stage.
"We want to thank all World War II veterans, their families and the American people who supported the effort on the home front," said retired Lt. Gen. Ed Soyster, the World War II Committee's executive director and special assistant to the secretary of the army. "The young men and women who served in uniform and on the home front are now in their 80s and 90s. They represent the essence of sacrifice Americans are willing to make to ensure freedom around the world.
"Without each and every one of the brave men and women involved in the effort, the America we know today would be vastly different," he said.
World War II veterans and an escort will have priority seating. Additional family members or friends will be seated in rows behind the World War II veterans and their escorts. Special seating will be reserved for handicapped attendees.
Immediately following the formal portion of the ceremony, there will be entertainment by the USO Liberty Belles, a 1940s-style group reminiscent of the Andrews Sisters, and the Navy Band Northwest. There will also be historical exhibits and displays throughout the three days and information of interest to veterans, family, friends and the public.
The original scale model of the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C., is being shipped in. In addition, volunteers for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project and at least three other documentary companies will be conducting interviews with veterans to record their stories from World War II.
The Pacific Northwest's 60th Anniversary of WWII Commemoration is the cornerstone event of the three-day "America's Celebrate Freedom Salute," hosted by the city of Vancouver, the Vancouver National Historic Reserve Trust and the National Park Service, Aug. 26-28.