Unsung Hero "In Memory" Ceremony
Woodring Wall of Honor & Veterans Park
Unsung Hero "In Memory" Ceremony 10:00 a.m. June 14th
Enid — US Navy seaman Richard David Vollman's name will likely never be engraved on the Vietnam Memorial Wall.
Vollman, a Navy mechanic during the Vietnam War, died in August 2002 of leukemia at age 52. "But for 28 years after he came home from the war, he began to suffer from diabetes, leukemia, and passed away in Audie Murphy VA Hospital in San Antonio," his wife, Karen, said. Karen Vollman plans to attend the ceremony bringing with her a picture of her husband and will leave it at the Vietnam Wall as part of the In Memory Day ceremony at the Vietnam Memorial Wall at the Woodring Wall of Honor and Veteran’s Park on Saturday, June 14th at 10:00 am, as a way to honor and remember him.
"It's never easy to lose a spouse and this is all part of our healing process," said Karen, "My husband was a great man, a hard worker and a dedicated Navy veteran. His job involved activity around the aircraft, weapons and chemicals. It was later documented that his death was caused from exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange. Prior to his death he was declared 100% disabled from the service-connected disability."
"With the addition of the Vietnam Memorial Wall to the veteran’s park, this is the first ceremony to honor the men and women who have died indirectly from their service in Vietnam, this is one of biggest things I could ever do for him to honor him and his service. People think Vietnam veterans were a forgotten group, and they're not, thanks to the efforts of the Woodring Wall of Honor who brought it here to Enid."
This ceremony dedicated to the unsung heroes is called the "In Memory" program. It honors Vietnam veterans whose deaths do not meet Department of Defense criteria for their names to be added to the wall. A special plaque will be unveiled and placed in the flagpole center of the park.
Most have died, years after the war, from various forms of cancer believed caused by Agent Orange. "Sadly, some of the things that ultimately killed these men were things that were gotten through their service," said Elaine Johns, Executive Director of the Woodring Wall of Honor and Veterans Park where the Vietnam Memorial Wall is located. "These men who will be honored Saturday, bring recognition to the fact that they may not have fallen on the ground on foreign soil, but physically and mentally, the struggles they go through are sometimes harder than if they had died overseas."
Others have died of PTSD-related suicides, according to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which built the original wall in Washington DC and started the In Memory program to honor those whose names won't be carved into the granite.
Following the services, roses will be on hand to place at the Wall.
Father's Day is a time to honor all of our fathers, and the Woodring Wall of Honor will continue the annual tradition of paying special tribute to those fathers who died as a result of the Vietnam War. The Father's Day Rose Remembrance ceremony features beautiful symbolism, emotional tributes and elegant reverence in recognition of fathers, sons, brothers, and friends who perished in Vietnam or later of Vietnam-related causes.
Elaine Johns – 580-478-3034
David Henneke – 580-548-6502
Karen Vollman – 580-977-9413
Coni Blankenship – 580-402-3913
Name Placement Ceremony
WOODRING WALL OF HONOR & VETERANS PARK
ENID, OKLAHOMA FRIDAY MAY 16TH
In 1967, PVC. Lester James Veazey enlisted in the US Marines shortly after his 19th birthday. He was shot in the head on January 20, 1968, by small arms fire near Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam. James survived the wound, but was confined to a wheelchair. He returned home to Enid, Oklahoma, but never fully recovered. He died from his wounds 9 years later in 1977.
Last year, his name was added to The Vietnam Wall, and he officially joined more than 58,000 other American heroes inscribed on the nation's most beloved memorial. Since The Wall was dedicated, 347 additional names have been engraved. Enid, Oklahoma will update the state’s "Official Vietnam War Monument" on Friday, May 16th at 7:30 pm, in a candlelight ceremony at the Woodring Wall of Honor and Veterans Park. PFC Veazey’s brother, Ken Parker, will have the honor of placing his brother’s name on the wall in an official name placement ceremony.
ADDING NAMES TO THE WALL
Each year, names that have met the Department of Defense criteria for addition to The Wall, having sustained wounds in Vietnam from which they eventually perished, are unveiled on the black granite of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC each Mothers Day. Adding a hero's name is not only important to the individual families, it is of great interest to communities and local media around the country. Television news stories and newspapers across America tell hometown stories of service and sacrifice. National media also takes notice when the Memorial is updated. The stories of those honored, as well as the actual processes of identifying and engraving the names, are of great national human interest. We honor those services in Enid at the Vietnam Memorial Wall.
This year, 22 heroes will be welcomed home to the Vietnam Memorial Wall. They came from home towns across America, and served with distinction. We are privileged to honor one Oklahoman to add to the Wall. Welcome Home PVC Lester James Veazey.
Lt. Col Bill Schwertfeger, Vietnam Veteran and Hanoi Hilton POW, will be the keynote speaker for the upcoming ceremony. Special music will be provided by talented artists Cobe and the Cat. Cobe Moore is a blind and autistic musician who will be accompanying sultry and soulful soloist, Cathy Nulph in several patriotic songs. Col. J.J. Menozzi, Vance AFB Vice-Wing Commander, will dedicate the stone in honor of the 22 military members. A special flame ceremony, hosted by the national "Carry the Flame Across America" nonprofit, will honor the 22 men. The group is traveling from California to Washington DC and are stopping in Enid for the special ceremony. The group plans to attend the annual ceremony each year in Enid. Other Vietnam Veterans groups which ride across the states will incorporate this stop into their itinerary for upcoming years. Prior to the event, at 7:00 pm, District 40 Representative John Enns, will receive a special award from the Oklahoma State Veteran’s Association. For additional information: contact Elaine Johns @ 580-478-3034.