For Immediate Release
Springfield, VA, November 25, 2009
Purple Heart Recipients Participate in American Veterans Center Annual Conference
For the last decade, 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. Participating in the conference have been such legendary veterans as the Doolittle Raiders, Band of Brothers, Flying Tigers, and Tuskegee Airmen, as well as Medal of Honor recipients, Vietnam POWs, and decorated young service members who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Military Order of the Purple Heart was honored by an invitation to participate by providing a panel of five speakers for this year’s conference, held at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, DC. The MOPH speakers included Boyd Barclay, Dennis Wallot, Mike Ali, and Al Ortiz, with National Public Relations Director John Bircher as the moderator. To open the discussion, each of the Purple Heart recipients related the story of when and where they were wounded and how they managed to go on to successful careers after their military service, despite their wounds. The panel members then answered questions from the audience about their life experiences. Also attending were National Senior Vice Commander Clayton Jones and National Adjutant Jack Leonard.
L to R: Mike Ali, Boyd Barclay, Dennis Wallot, Al Ortiz
In addition to the Purple Heart panel, special guests included CENTCOM Commander, General David Petraeus and Astronaut Colonel Buzz Aldrin. Other speakers featured prominent veterans from World War II through our current generation of heroes. The conference was televised nationwide on C-Span, reaching thousands of viewers, and giving a voice to our veterans. The annual conference allows the veterans to pass their knowledge and experience on to the next generation, and helps to build an appreciation for the sacrifices our military men and women have made in the defense of our country. In addition, the conference features wreath-laying ceremonies at our nation’s war memorials, private receptions for attendees with the veterans, and the annual awards banquet which honors the valor of America’s finest veterans from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam all the way to Iraq and Afghanistan. The American Veterans Center’s annual conference is one of our nation’s premiere educational opportunities to learn, first-hand, from our greatest heroes.
GEN David Petraeus and John Bircher
The organization now known as the "Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A. Inc.," (MOPH) was formed in 1932 for the protection and mutual interest of all who have received the decoration. Chartered by the Congress, The MOPH is unique among Veteran Service Organizations in that all its members were wounded in combat. For this sacrifice, they were awarded the Purple Heart Medal. With grants from the MOPH Service Foundation, the MOPH and its Ladies Auxiliary promote Patriotism, Fraternalism, and the Preservation of America's military history. Most importantly, they provide comfort and assistance to all Veterans and their families, especially those requiring claims assistance with the VA, those who are homeless, and those requiring employment assistance. Through the VAVS program, MOPH volunteers provide assistance to hospitalized veterans at VA sites and State Veterans Homes.
John E. Bircher III
Director of Public Relations
Military Order of the Purple Heart
5413-B Backlick Road
Springfield, VA 22151
On the Web: http://www.purpleheart.org
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