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Christmas ceremony Saturday at Vietnam memorial in Springfield

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[December 04, 2013]  SPRINGFIELD The Illinois Vietnam Veterans Memorial will host the 26th annual Christmas Remembrance ceremony for Illinois soldiers listed as prisoners of war or missing in action in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. The ceremony at the memorial begins at 1 p.m. Saturday in Springfield's historic Oak Ridge Cemetery.

Family and friends of the soldiers will have the opportunity to hang handmade, heart-shaped ornaments on a tree near the memorial. Each ornament will bear the name of a lost loved one. The general public can also participate by bringing a weatherproof ornament to hang.

State Sen. Sam McCann, R-Carlinville, will be the master of ceremonies, and the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 534 will provide the color guard. The ceremony will also include Christmas music courtesy of Land of Lincoln Barbershop Chorus.

Mikle Siere Sr. of the Lincoln Tomb and War Memorials State Historic Site will read the POW/MIA names. The invocation and benediction will be led by Father Jeff Grant of Blessed Sacrament Church in Springfield.

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The event is sponsored by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, which operates the Illinois Vietnam Memorial. The memorial, along with the state's World War II and Korean War memorials and the Abraham Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site, is at 1500 Monument Ave. in Oak Ridge Cemetery.

All are open daily for free tours.

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Illinois Vietnam Veterans Memorial

[Text from file received from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

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