Mark Your Calendar!
Join us on Saturday, May 25th for the dedication ceremony and grand opening of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park at The Museum of Flight.
Dedication Ceremony Speakers
We are excited to share the final lineup of dynamic speakers who will help dedicate the Memorial Park, each of whom is personally invested in honoring the legacies and stories of veterans:
Matt Lorch: As a news anchor for local media outlet Q-13, Matt has been involved in several of the Museum's projects over the years, including our "Wings of Heroes: Honoring Those Who Served in Vietnam" gala in 2018. Matt's father was one of the volunteers who helped restore the B-52G that is featured in the Memorial Park.
Chaplain John F. Fergueson: The Rev. Canon John Fergueson is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and served in the Vietnam War from 1967-1968. He entered Episcopal seminary in 1969, was ordained to the priesthood in 1972, and served at the Church of the Redeemer in Kenmore, WA for thirty years before his retirement in 2014.
Pamela Valdez: Pam is the Vice President of Air Force Services at The Boeing Company, as well as the Vice Chair of the United Service Organization (USO) Northwest Board of Directors. She is especially excited to see the Museum's B-52G - one of the most iconic Boeing aircraft ever manufactured - restored to its former glory and displayed in a place of honor.
Allan Ekberg: Allan was elected the Mayor of Tukwila in 2015. Tukwila's partnership has been vital to the Museum's Project Welcome Home efforts, including transporting the B-52's massive wings and fuselage through Tukwila last year. Allan is also a U.S. Air Force veteran and guarded many B-52s while of duty during the Cold War.
Lourdes "Alfie" Alvarado-Ramos: Alfie is the Director of the Washington State Department of Veteran Affairs, and is an outspoken advocate for veterans and their right to benefits, services and resources across the state. A 22-year U.S. Army veteran herself, Alfie and her office have been strong champions of Project Welcome Home and what it symbolizes for veterans.
General Jim Mattis, USMC (Ret) & 26th US Secretary of Defense: General Mattis grew up in Pullman, Washington; his mother worked in Army Intelligence during WWII, and his father was involved in the Manhattan Project in Richland, WA. After his older brother enlisted int he U.S. Marine Corps and served in Vietnam, Jim also joined the Marines and served for more than 40 years. He retired in 2013 at the rank of General and most recently served as the 26th United States Secretary of Defense from 2017-2018.
Jim Farmer: As a Museum Trustee and Chairman of the Project Welcome Home veteran committee, Jim has been a tireless advocate for our B-52 and its restoration. He piloted B-52s in Vietnam with the U.S. Air Force, and has shared his experiences with the community by participating in several of the Museum's panel discussions with veterans.
The Museum would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Gene McBrayer, Museum of Flight Trustee and Chairman of the Planning Committee, as well as Eric Haubrich of Sellen Construction, the foreman of the team building the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park. Thank you for all your hard work and guidance to make this project a reality!
Honoring the Women of Vietnam
The most recent issue of Aloft, the Museum's member magazine, features several stories about Vietnam and updates about Project Welcome Home - including the front and back cover! Many people were called to serve their country during the Vietnam War, although not all of them were enlisted in the Armed Forces. Women were largely not allowed in combat zones during that time, but their sacrifices are no less heroic than those of military veterans.
"As we celebrate the accomplishments of our service members in and during the Vietnam War, we must also remember the thousands of women who served and died for our country," says Alfie Alvarado-Ramos, Director of the Washington State Department of Veteran Affairs. "They are not only the nurses who saved so many lives but also the supply clerks, communications and public relations specialists and personnel crews... Many endured significant hardships and paved the way for equipment and gender-specific services that our women warriors enjoy today."