HOLMDEL, NJ - The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Foundation will honor New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Remembrance Day with a ceremony at the Memorial on May 7.  This day was established in 1991 as a unique day in New Jersey to honor all those who served in the military during the Vietnam Era. 

The ceremony will also honor the 20th anniversary of the New Jersey Veterans' Memorial and the efforts members of The Last Patrol took to get the Memorial built. The Last Patrol, a group of Vietnam Veterans from New Jersey, walked from the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Washington D.C., to the future location of the Memorial in Holmdel in May 1989 to raise awareness and support for the building of the Memorial.

WHEN: Thursday, May 7, 2015 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

WHERE: The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial, located at 1 Memorial Lane in Holmdel, NJ (Exit 116 PNC Bank Arts Center)

WHO: Recruiting and Retention Battalion; New Jersey Army National Guard; USAF MSGT (Ret.) Raphael Jimenez; Joseph Formola, Chaplain, NJ State Council, Vietnam Veterans of America; NJ Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs

CEREMONY PROGRAM:

Welcome – Jess Le Vine, NJVVMF Trustee

Posting of the Colors Recruiting and Retention Battalion – New Jersey Army National Guard

Pledge of Allegiance – Dylan DeSimone

National Anthem USAF MSGT (Ret.) Raphael Jimenez; Michelle DellaFave

Invocation – Joseph Formola, Chaplain, NJ State Council, Vietnam Veterans of America

Acknowledgements – Last Patrol

Keynote Speaker – Colonel James C. Hodges, 87th Air Base Wing Commander, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst

God Bless America –  USAF MSGT (Ret.) Raphael Jimenez; Michelle DellaFave

Benediction – Joe Formola

Medal Ceremony – NJ Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs

ABOUT THE LAST PATROL: Eighteen people, 15 former servicemen and three medical staff, departed Washington, D.C. on a journey that would take them through Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey with a goal of returning the names of the 1,486 men who gave their lives for their country. The group, named The Last Patrol after the efforts servicemen made to keep free those who desperately sought their freedom, made rubbings of all 1,486 names at the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in D.C., placed them in a wooden box, and brought them home. This was an important symbol for New Jersey Vietnam Veterans. It represented a WELCOME HOME for these brave men. (Note: After careful examination of records, it was discovered the actual number of New Jersey lives lost in Vietnam was 1,563.)

On May 27, 1989, The Last Patrol was greeted with welcome arms by members of the community who had come to pay respect to the efforts of these men as well as honor the fallen. A ceremony honored the group and remembered the ones who lost their lives in Vietnam. The message was simple — Welcome Home.

About New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Foundation

The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation offers a meaningful and engaging experience that recognizes the sacrifice, courage and valor of Vietnam Veterans and encourages and fosters a thorough understanding of the Vietnam Era including the political, historical, social, cultural and military aspects, which affected the United States, and especially New Jersey.

The Foundation operates and manages the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial and the adjacent Vietnam Era Museum & Educational Center located at 1 Memorial Lane off Exit 116 (PNC Bank Arts Center) in Holmdel, NJ. The Memorial honors all those who served our country and state during the Vietnam War, especially the 1,563 New Jerseyans who did not return home. It is a powerful and fitting tribute to their sacrifice. The Memorial is open 24 hours, seven days a week. The Vietnam Era Museum & Educational Center is the first educational center and museum of its kind in the United States. Dedicated in September 1998, the Museum is devoted solely to gaining an understanding of the conflict in Southeast Asia and the surrounding political strife in America. For hours and directions, visit www.njvvmf.org