Wednesday, April 30, 2008
sponsored by Maple Ridge

20th anniversary Vietnam veterans vigil and memorial service

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[April 30, 2008]  SPRINGFIELD -- Special ceremonies and a 24-hour vigil honoring Illinois servicemen who died in the Vietnam War will be held on Saturday and Sunday at the Illinois Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Springfield's Oak Ridge Cemetery. The weekend observance also marks the 20th anniversary of the memorial's dedication.

The opening ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday. The Illinois Veteran Memorial Vigil organization will conduct a 24-hour vigil starting at noon, and the memorial will remain open to the public during the vigil. At 6 p.m. Saturday there will be a ceremony remembering the 72 men from Illinois still listed as prisoners of war or missing in action.

The closing ceremony, including a remembrance ceremony, will begin at 11:40 a.m. Sunday. The remembrance ceremony, "To Those Who Have Served," will recognize John H. Berg of Rockford and James L. Hunt of Villa Park, whose names have recently been added to the memorial. The ceremony will also honor all the 2,995 servicemen from this state who died in the Vietnam War or are listed as missing in action, as well as all from Illinois who served. The Troy Junior High seventh- and eighth-grade concert choir of Shorewood will perform, and the Illinois Veteran Memorial Vigil will provide the color guard for the occasion. The ceremony will conclude with the retiring of the 24-hour vigil honor guard.

The vigil and all of the ceremonies are free and open to the public.

The Illinois Vietnam Veterans Memorial, administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, is located off Route 29 in Springfield's Oak Ridge Cemetery.

[Text from Illinois Historic Preservation Agency file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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