In recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War, the Red Sox Foundation and Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program, will honor Vietnam Veterans throughout the weekend of July 15th.
Starting today, Friday, July 14, The Moving Wall, a half-size replica of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C., will be on display at Fenway Park on Van Ness Street outside of Gate B. The Moving Wall will be formally unveiled today with a ribbon cutting at 3 p.m.
Saturday, July 15th will feature a day-long “welcome home” to Vietnam Veterans at Fenway Park, which will commence at Home Base’s original and largest fundraiser, the 8th Annual Run to Home Base 9K / 5K charity race presented by New Balance, benefiting Home Base’s clinical care and support services to Veterans, Service Members, and Families healing from the Invisible Wounds, such as post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury. The charity race begins at 8 a.m. on Yawkey Way and features a photo finish at home plate inside the ballpark.
This “welcome home” to Vietnam Veterans will continue at a ceremony preceding the 4:05 p.m. Red Sox –Yankees game that afternoon. The pregame ceremony will honor more than 1,300 Vietnam Veterans and their family members on the field, and pay tribute to the thousands who lost their lives during that conflict. It is the largest recognition ceremony of its kind ever held in the United States.
During Saturday’s ceremony, the Boston Police Gaelic Column will play Highland Cathedral on the bagpipes as the Veterans enter the field. The bugle call ‘Last Post’ will be performed by the Boston Crusaders, followed by a performance of ‘Echo Taps.’ With Hanscom Air Force Base presenting the colors, the national anthem will be performed by the Voices of Freedom and punctuated by a flyover of four F-15 jets flown from Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, MA.
Expected to take part in the ceremony alongside the hundreds of Vietnam Veterans are Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, U.S. Army Major General Paul LaCamera, former Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Retired U.S. Army General Eric Ken Shinseki, former U.S. Army Chief of Staff and retired U.S Army General George William Casey Jr., Retired Army Lieutenant General Joseph E. DeFrancisco, and Wounded Warriors Project CEO and Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Michael S. Linnington.
After the ceremony, fans attending the game will be given cards that say “I Salute” to display during the middle of the 3rd inning with the name of a loved one, friend, or acquaintance who is a Veteran or currently serving in the armed forces. The “I Salute” cards are made possible with the support of BAE and FedEx.
Fenway Park gates open at 2:35 on Saturday for the 4:05 p.m. game. Fans are asked to be in their seats by 3:30 p.m. to enjoy the ceremony, which will be broadcast live by NESN.
More than 2.6 million men and women served in Vietnam from 1965 to 1973. The conflict resulted in nearly 60 thousand American casualties. Many of those who did survive returned home with injuries both visible and unseen, and often to an unfriendly welcome, further deepening their wounds. The July 15th celebrations at Fenway Park will provide a richly deserved “welcome home” to hundreds of Vietnam Veterans, honoring their service and sacrifice.