This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. On Memorial Day, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta launched a national effort to commemorate the conflict in Southeast Asia.
President Obama delivered the keynote address at the ceremony held at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, which included speeches by Sec. Panetta, Chairman of Joints Chief of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), a Vietnam veteran. Actor Tom Sellick was Master of Ceremonies.
The Vietnam 50th Anniversary Commemoration Program, which honors veterans and those missing-in-action as well military families on the home front, is a partnership between the Department of Defense and other federal agencies, veterans groups, state, local government and non-government organizations. The 2008 National Defense Authorization Act authorized the Secretary of Defense to initiate the commemoration program.