MOTHER’S DAY REMARKS
as delivered by
LTG (Ret) Claude M "Mick" Kicklighter
“NAME ADDITIONS CEREMONY”
Jan, thank your kind words and warm welcome. It is an honor and a pleasure for me to be with you today to formally acknowledge the lives, the service and the sacrifice of the ten men who now join the more than 58,000 American heroes listed on this Wall.
This is indeed a special day, and even more special because we are gathered on Mother’s Day. I want to offer a heartfelt welcome to ALL mothers here today, and especially to the mothers of those who are listed behind me, our Nation’s Gold Star Mothers . As Americans, we all bear the weight of the sacrifices caused by War. However, the mothers of our service members bear an unimaginable burden when their sons and daughters go to war, particularly for those who never return home. Today, we thank all the mothers of our service men and women for their sacrifice, and appreciate all they do for our country. We especially remember the Gold Star Mothers for their great loss.
This year, Marks the 30th anniversary of the creation of this Memorial, an enduring monument dedicated to remembering and honoring those who served their country so well in Vietnam. This Wall, and the names inscribed, are an eternal tribute to the most scared of American Values… Duty, honor, courage and sacrifice.
All of these names, including the ones most recently added, are not only engraved on this granite… they are etched into the history of this nation and inscribed onto the hearts of all Americans.
I’m very proud of my service in Vietnam and of those I served with. I cannot adequately express my admiration and respect for those brave men and women who, in my opinion, did all the Nation asked and then some. They went to the sound of guns, where they were needed, and many did so as volunteers. I had two tours in Vietnam and I was surrounded by extremely brave and dedicated men and woman.
2012 also marks the beginning of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. The Department of Defense will assist this grateful Nation in thanking and honoring the Vietnam Veterans and their families. Especially families who lost loved ones. I am very proud to lead the Commemoration for the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War.
We all have the rare opportunity to turn back a page in history and to right a wrong, by properly thanking and honoring the Vietnam Veterans and their Families.
Also in 2012, we will all gather again to witness the ground braking of The Education Center at The Wall. Image it… just about ½ a block to the West of this Monument. A facility dedicated to telling the stories and celebrating the lives of the heroes listed on This Wall.
This wall will stand… and the Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration will continue its work.. and the Education Center at The Wall will be built… all to make sure that the great sacrifice the more than 58,000 will NEVER be forgotten.
Thank you all for gathering here today. I encourage everyone to take a few moments and locate the newly inscribed names. These honorable men are now formally part of our great history. Read their names and the names of those immortalized around them… and remember them. Remember not only their sacrifice, but also their lives. Remember not only the price they paid, but the people they were.
And in remembering, also look forward. Join me in anticipating the ways in which we will honor these heroes and all veterans. Look forward to our opportunities to right historical wrongs and teach future generations bout the impact and the lessons learned by the Vietnam War.