General Robbie Risner to speak at Welcome Home memorial service

One of America’s greatest modern-day war heroes, Brigadier General James Robinson “Robbie” Risner, USAF retired, will be the keynote speaker at a Memorial Service for the more than 58,000 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country during the Vietnam War.

A pivotal part of Welcome Home…America’s Tribute To Vietnam Veterans, the national homecoming to be held in Branson, Missouri, June 13-19, 2005. The memorial service is scheduled to be held Saturday, June 18, at 9 a.m. at a yet to be determined site.

A two-time recipient of the Air Force Cross and veteran pilot of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, Risner was shot down twice over enemy territory, the second time captured by the Viet Cong. Held prisoner for seven-and-one-half years in the notorious Hanoi Hilton, he endured frequent torture and four-and-one-half years of solitary confinement. Risner’s valor, loyalty, adherence to the Code of Conduct, and faith in God and country during his captivity became rallying points for fellow prisoners. A nine-foot tall statue of Risner stands today on the central plaza of the United States Air Force Academy as an inspiration and reminder of his uncompromising courage.

Welcome Home…America’s Tribute To Vietnam Veterans will be held June 13-19, 2005 in Branson, Missouri. The weeklong celebration will include demonstrations and displays, golf and fishing tournaments, the Dignity Memorial® Vietnam Wall Experience, a Homecoming Parade honoring Vietnam Veterans, and an outdoor Grand Finale Celebration which will include more than 15 aircraft from the Vietnam era.

Confirmed performers for the Saturday Grand Finale Celebration include the Beach Boys, the Fifth Dimension, Creedance Clearwater Revisited, the Doobie Brothers, the Supremes with Mary Wilson, and the Oak Ridge Boys. Tony Orlando, Les Brown’s Band of Renown with Les Brown, Jr., will also appear, plus special appearances by other noted entertainers including Ann-Margret. The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders will also participate. The Grand Finale Celebration will be held on a scenic 100-acre mountaintop at Saddlebrooke, 10 miles north of Branson on Highway 65.

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