D.C. ) - The first formal event of Vietnam Veterans of America’s 13th biennial National Convention in Springfield, Illinois, will take place on Monday evening, July 16, at 7 o’clock when VVA’s four national officers join with an Illinois VVA color guard to lay a wreath at the Illinois Vietnam Veterans Memorial, located near the Lincoln Tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery. The ceremony, which is open to the public, will pay tribute to the 2,972 Illinois residents who served in the Vietnam War and died or are listed as still missing.
“It’s an honor for VVA to recognize those from Illinois who did not come back from Vietnam, before we begin the business of our National Convention in Illinois’ state capital,” said VVA President John Rowan, who will be joined in the ceremony by National Vice President Jack Devine, Secretary Barry Hagge, and Treasurer Alan Cook. After the solemn ceremony, the nearby Museum of Funeral Customs will host a reception for VVA officers, members, and the media. The Convention’s Opening Ceremonies will take place on Wednesday morning, July 18.
An estimated 700 delegates from local chapters will join hundreds of other Vietnam veterans and guests at the VVA National Convention in Springfield, which runs through Saturday, July 21. The delegates will set the organization’s course for the next two years, elect national officers and the Board of Directors, hear from an array of speakers, attend information sessions, and take part in special events, including the Legislative Breakfast. Among the celebrities who will take part in the Convention are the country music stars Big & Rich and Lee Greenwood, the singer Nancy Sinatra, and HBO Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill Nelson.