(Washington, D.C.) – Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Secretary of the Department
of Homeland Security, will address an audience of fellow Vietnam veterans at
the Opening Ceremonies of Vietnam Veterans of America’s National Leadership
Conference at the Sheraton Downtown Nashville Hotel on Wednesday morning,
August 4. The ceremonies begin at 8:30 a.m. and are open to the public.
“We feel honored that Secretary Ridge will take time from
his important work to join us in Nashville,” said VVA national President
Thomas H. Corey. “He has been a strong supporter of Vietnam veterans while
serving in Congress and as governor of Pennsylvania. He has lived up to our
motto: ‘In Service to America.’ ”
Ridge, a member of Vietnam Veterans of America, was
drafted into the U.S. Army after his first year of law school. He served as
an infantry sergeant in Vietnam from 1969-70 and was awarded the Bronze Star
for Valor. Ridge earned a law degree after his military service, went into
private legal practice, and then served as assistant district attorney in
Erie County, Pennsylvania. Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in
1982, he was the first congressman to have served as an enlisted man in the
Vietnam War. After five terms in Congress, Ridge was elected Governor of
Pennsylvania in 1994.
More than four hundred Vietnam veterans will convene in
Nashville for VVA’s National Leadership Conference, which runs through
Saturday, August 7. Conference attendees will have the opportunity to be
part of dozens for seminars, hear from an array of speakers, and take part
in other special activities.