“Presidents Reagan and Clinton spoke at the Wall. So, it is an honor,” Jan Scruggs, president and founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund told Secrets.
This year has special meaning for the memorial: the event, hosted by actor Tom Selleck, will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the war that cost the lives of over 58,000 Americans. Obama will join other government officials and veterans to lay wreaths at The Wall during the ceremony. Ten new names added to the Wall this year will also be honored.
Obama spoke about the war Wednesday in awarding the Medal of Honor posthumously to Army Specialist Leslie Sabo Jr. “Instead of being celebrated, our Vietnam veterans were often shunned. They were called many things, when there was only one thing that they deserved to be called -- and that was American patriots,” he said, adding that his appearance at the Memorial Day event “will be another chance for America to say to our Vietnam veterans what should have been said when you first came home: You did your job. You served with honor. You made us proud.”
Obama, the first lady and Jill Biden have stepped up efforts to help veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars jobs and medical attention and there have been several recent stories of how the Obama-Biden campaign is targeting veterans for support in the fall election.