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2009 Memorial Day
Houston VA National Cemetery
News Release
Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day Service at Houston VA National Cemetery
This year’s theme is "Freedom Isn’t Free”

HOUSTON - A special Memorial Day Service will be held on Monday, May 25, 2009 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. Charles W. “Bill” McClain, Jr., a native Texan and a 1962 graduate of Texas A&M, will give the Memorial Day address. McClain is currently the Special Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. In 1995, he culminated a distinguished 33-year military career as the U.S. Army’s Chief of Public Affairs with the rank of Major General. He advised senior U.S. and Allied leaders on organizational and communications issues, developed professional enhancement programs, and was the architect of worldwide military internal and external communication programs.  In recognition of his leadership and vision, McClain was inducted into the U.S. Army Public Affairs Hall of Fame in 2003. After retirement from active duty, which included service in Europe and Vietnam, he served in the private and public sectors to include managerial and leadership experience in county government in San Antonio, as well as in senior management positions in The Woodlands and Houston. Among his military awards are the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Bronze Star.

In addition to McClain’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 U.S. Coast Guard; 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; a white dove release; and a rifle salute by the VFW District #4 Ceremonial Detail accompanied by Co. A 13th U.S. Regular Infantry with muskets. Medal of Honor Recipient David McNerney will lead the pledge of allegiance with Peggy Slay, President of the Houston Gold Star Mothers.

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

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