Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Memorial Day Service at Houston VA National Cemetery

May 5, 2008

This year’s theme is "Always Remember”

HOUSTON - A special Memorial Day Service will be held on Monday, May 26, 2008 at 9:30 a.m. at the Houston VA National Cemetery, located at 10410 Veterans Memorial Drive.

This year, the Department of Veterans Affairs is pleased to announce that retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Ivany, current president of University of St. Thomas, will give the Memorial Day address. Ivany presided over one of the nation’s most respected institutions for the education of strategic leaders: the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. There for three years, he instituted programs to develop the next generation of military and civilian leaders from the United States and 42 foreign countries to meet the challenges of cultural change, organizational transformation, and a drastically altered national security environment. During his various military commands as an armored cavalry officer, he led soldiers in the United States, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the Federal Republic of Germany, and Vietnam where he was wounded in action and decorated for valor. After completing his Army service in October 2003, he joined the faculty of the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University as an adjunct professor in Executive Education. He worked with senior executives in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States in leader development, strategic planning, and cultural change. In addition to earning a Bachelor of Science from the U.S. Military Academy, he received a doctorate in history from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

In addition to Ivany’s remarks, the event will feature a parade of colors and wreaths by numerous local veterans’ organizations, ROTC units, and Boy and Girl Scout troops. All Boy and Girl Scout organizations in southeast Texas are invited to attend.

There will also be many symbolic highlights including a flyover by the Texas Air National Guard, 147th Fighter Wing; a performance of Taps; a cannon salute; a riderless horse procession by the Houston Police Mounted Patrol; Amazing Grace performed by the Houston Highlander Pipe Band; and a rifle salute by the VFW District #4 Ceremonial Detail accompanied by Co. A 13th U.S. Regular Infantry with muskets.

The Memorial Day Service, honoring deceased United States servicemen and women, is free and open to the public.

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BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The Houston VA National Cemetery is the second largest national cemetery in the region, encompassing some 419 acres of a former dairy farm in northwest Houston. The cemetery's focal point and the site of all special observances is the horseshoe-shaped building at its center known as the Hemicycle. This exposed aggregate structure contains a chapel and a 75-foot bell tower and encloses a courtyard that can accommodate as many as 5,000 people. All veterans with general or better discharges, their spouses, and dependent children are eligible for burial in a national cemetery. Eligible veterans may receive a VA grave marker or headstone even if they are not buried in a national cemetery. For more information, visit the National Cemetery Administration Web site at http://www.cem.va.gov.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS: The Houston VA National Cemetery is located 15 miles northwest of downtown Houston. From Bush Intercontinental Airport, take John F. Kennedy Blvd. south to Beltway 8. Turn right onto Beltway 8 west and exit at Ella. Follow the feeder road west to the third traffic light. Turn left on Veterans Memorial Drive. Proceed to the first traffic light and turn left on T.C. Jester. The cemetery entrance is on the right.