SACRAMENTO–Hundreds of people gathered today in Capitol Park to witness the re-dedication of the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Originally dedicated in 1988, the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial has stood as a testament to the 5,823 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice at the request of our Nation.
“I am honored to see so many people here today with us to honor and remember, not only the men and women who lost their lives in Vietnam during that very unpopular war, but also those who came back, became parents, artists, community leaders or most importantly, our neighbors and loved ones,” said Peter J. Gravett, CalVet Secretary.
The ceremony today involved three parts. The first was a motorcycle run with more than 300 riders making their way from Raley Field to the memorial. A beautiful solemn ceremony in honor of Prisoners of War and those still Missing in Action took place following the motorcycle ride. The main ceremony involved some very heartfelt speeches by Sister Linda McClenahan, Chairwoman of the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial Committee; Stan Atkinson, longtime friend of B.T. Collins and supporter of the memorial; Peter J. Gravett, CalVet Secretary; and Col. Rocky Chavez, CA State Assembly.
“We are very grateful for the support demonstrated to Vietnam veterans and this memorial,” said Pete Conaty, Pete Conaty and Associates and committee co-chair. “We thank all our sponsors, the hardworking planning committee, volunteers and all the attendees at this event.”
Two very poignant events during the ceremony included the unveiling of PFC Ralph Henry Johnson’s newly engraved name. PFC Johnson is a Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. The other touching moment came when several wreaths were laid at the memorial by different veterans’ service organizations. These two occasions brought many of the attendees to tears. The ceremony concluded with a touching rendition of Amazing Grace by the Scottish American Military Society