American Veterans Center
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (June 2010)|
The American Veterans Center is a non-profit Veterans organization and division of the American Studies Center. The mission of the American Veterans Center is to "preserve and promote the legacy of America’s servicemen and women from World War II through Operation Iraqi Freedom." The American Studies Center has funded numerous events and projects at the American Veterans Center such as; the National Memorial Day Parade, the Annual Veterans Day weekend conference and awards banquet, a quarterly publication (American Valor Quarterly), two different hour long radio programs (Veterans Chronicles and Proudly We Hail), Wounded Warrior dinners and receptions for veterans recovering at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval Hospitals, The Andrew J. Goodpaster Lecture, and the conducting of oral history interviews of veterans from all conflicts and archiving their self-published books and journals, photographs, maps, and supplies.
The American Veterans Center is an outgrowth of the World War II Veterans Committee which itself grew out of World War II Chronicles, a weekly radio series co-produced by Radio America (another project of the American Studies Center) and the national Archives. The World War II Veterans Committee was founded in 1996 and was responsible for several activities and projects including an annual Chesty Puller Award and an Audie Murphy Award. The Committee’s motto was "From the Greatest Generation to the Latest Generation", and most of their activities focused on educating America's youth about the legacy of the WWII generation.
In 2005, the National Vietnam Veterans Committee was formed to pursue a parallel education mission for America's Vietnam veterans, and in 2006 both organizations were combined under the umbrella of the American Veterans Center, with the mission of honoring the service of all America's Veterans "From World War II to Operation Iraqi Freedom," as well as active duty personnel.
Since the Combination of the two committees in 2006 the American Veterans Center has seen significant growth and has produced and sponsored numerous events and panels including the 2008 erection of a baseball field on Guam in honor of the fallen WWII Marine on Iwo Jima and former star athlete and baseball pitcher Jimmy Trimble (James Trimble III) of St. Albans School in Washington, D.C.
- American Veterans Conference- Annually on Veterans Day Weekend in Washington D.C.
- National Memorial Day Parade- The Nation's largest Memorial Day Parade every year on Memorial Day in Washington D.C.
- American Valor Quarterly- A quarterly publication produced by the American Veterans Center with stories written by distinguished veterans and military historians.
- Veterans Chronicles with Gene Pell"-A weekly radio program produced and syndicated by Radio America airing live from 11:00 pm – 12:00 am ET on Sunday
- Proudly We Hail-A weekly radio program syndicated by Radio America airing live from 12:00 am – 1:00 am ET on Monday
- Andrew J. Goodpaster Lecture and Prize- Annual Lecture in Washington D.C. honoring a Scholarly Veteran who has distinguished themselves on and off the battlefield.
- Wounded Warrior dinners and receptions- Held in Washington D.C. and focused at honoring the veterans recovering at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval Hospital.
National Memorial Day Parade
The National Memorial Day Parade is held annually in Washington DC, and has been a popular destination for thousands of Americans to come together and honor the men and women who have served in uniform from the American Revolution to Operation Iraqi Freedom, and has sought to educate the public about the meaning of this hallowed day.
For nearly 70 years, Washington, DC was without a parade on Memorial day. This despite the fact that parades on Memorial Day have been a tradition in towns across America for well over a century. In 2005, the American Veterans Center created the National Memorial Day Parade. This has quickly become an event for the entire country and a major parade, which draws mainstream media attention and Hollywood stars to participate in honoring those who have served, and died in American Military Service. The National Memorial Day Parade has become an event in which Americans of all ages and generations can participate. In only its second year, the parade drew over 250,000 spectators and significant national media attention. The parade includes nearly 200 elements, including marching bands, active duty and retired military units, youth groups, parade floats, as well as hundreds of veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
Each year the parade highlights a branch of the Armed Services. The 2009 parade will highlight the Navy and will feature Ernest Borgnine, Lee Greenwood and Gary Sinise as Honorary Marshals.
Distinguished Participants include:
- Pat Boone- Singer- Honorary Marshall
- Rita Cosby- Event co-host
- James McEachin-Actor and decorated veteran-Honorary Marshall
- Bob Feller-MLB Hall of Famer and veteran-Honored Guest
- Gary Sinise-Actor-Honorary Marshall
- Mickey Rooney-Actor and Veteran-Honorary Marshall
- Joe Mantegna-Actor-Honorary Marshall
- Miss America-Pageant Queen-Honored Guest
- Frank W. Buckels-Last surviving American WWI Veteran-Honorary Marshall
- Edith Shain-Nurse from the famous Times Square Kiss photo-Honored Guest
- Adrian Cronauer-veteran and famous disc jockey portrayed by Robin Williams in the movie Good Morning, Vietnam- Parade Announcer
- Robert L. Howard-Vietnam Veteran and Medal of Honor Recipient-Honored Guest
- Brigadier General Steve Ritchie-Only ace pilot of Vietnam-Honored Guest
- Col. Walker Mahurin-Most highly decorated pilot in US history- Honored Guest
- "Band of Brothers"-Easy Company 506th Infantry Division 101st Airborne-Honored Guest
- The Tuskegee Airmen-Honored Guest
- Flying Tigers-Honored Guest
- Doolittle Raiders-Honored Guest
- Pearl Harbor Survivors Association-Honored Guest
- United States Marine Corps Band-Honored Guest
- United States Air Force Band-Honored Guest
American Veterans Conference
Since 1998 the World War II Veterans Committee, and now the American Veterans Center, has brought together some of America’s most distinguished veterans for an annual conference held over Veterans Day weekend, at which they share their experiences with an audience of several hundred high school and college students, as well as fellow veterans and members of the public.
The conference has been televised live on C-Span and covered by the national media. In addition, the conference features wreath-laying ceremonies at Washington D.C. war memorials, private receptions for attendees with the veterans, and the annual awards banquet which honors the valor of American veterans From World War II, Korea, and Vietnam all the way to Iraq and Afghanistan. The American Veterans Center’s mission with the annual conference is to present American's with educational opportunities to learn, first-hand, from some of America's greatest heroes.
- Distinguished Participants Include:
- Donald Burgett-
- Fran T. Carter-
- General Andrew J. Goodpaster-
- Donald Mates-
- James A. White-
- Donald Dencker-
- Bob Feller-
- Lorraine Rodgers-
- The Honorable Celia Sandys-
- Jack Valenti-
- Staff Sergeant David Bellevia-
- Lieutenant Colonel Lynn "Buck" Compton-
- Adrian Cronauer-
- Colonel George "Bud" Day-
- William "Wild Bill" Guarnere-
- Edward "Babe" Heffron-
- Lieutenant General Harry W.O. Kinnard-
- Leonard Lazarick-
- Donald G. Malarkey-
- Hiroshi "Hershey" Miyamura-
- Darrell "Shifty" Powers-
- Brigadier General R. Steve Ritchie-
- Dr. Lewis Sorley-
- Captain Bryan Jackson-
- Renwyn Triplett-
- B.G. Burkett-
- Lieutenant Colonel Bruce P. Crandall-
- Walter Ehlers-
- Joseph L. Galloway-
- First Lieutenant Pete Hegseth-
- Captain Thomas J. Hudner, Jr.-
- Grant Ichikawa-
- Marvin Margoshes-
- Sergeant Marco Martinez-
- James McEachin-
- Lieutenant General Harold G. "Hal" Moore, Jr.-
- George Joe Sakato-
- John Robert Slaughter-
- Charles "Chuck" Tatum-
- Michael E. Thornton-
- Colonel Warren Wiedhahn-
- Sergeant Jeremiah Workman-
Forms of Media
The American Veterans Center is involved in several different forms of media and outreach; this includes Radio, Television, Video, and Print. You can listen live on the internet for free to both of the Veteran Center's radio programs ("Veterans Chronicles" and "Proudly We Hail")and can download the podcasts of "Veterans Chronicles" at any time. The American Veterans Center has just recently launched its own YouTube Channel where you can watch all the conference videos and event clips and can watch parade clips from all the past years. They also produce a quarterly magazine called "American Valor Quarterly", which can also be read online. Many of the American Veterans Center's events are broadcast live on television and covered by national print and online media. By constantly adapting to changes in media the American Veterans Center has put themselves at the forefront of Veterans organizations in America.