HARRISBURG – Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25) and Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-28) today announced that former Gov. Tom Ridge will serve as the keynote speaker for The Wall That Heals Opening Ceremony on Wednesday, May 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the Pennsylvania State Capitol.
The Wall That Heals is a program of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. It is a Vietnam Veterans Memorial Replica and Mobile Education Center that travels the country. Inscribed are the names of the more than 58,000 service members who died in the Vietnam War. It has visited nearly 600 cities across America, and from May 9-13, it will be at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg.
Scarnati and Turzai explained that the Opening Ceremony is open to the public and will take place in front of The Wall That Heals exhibit, on the South Lawn, immediately in front of the Irvis Office Building.
“We are grateful to Gov. Ridge for being a part of this important ceremony,” Scarnati said. “As a Vietnam War combat veteran, he knows firsthand the significance of the war and the importance of bringing The Wall That Heals to Harrisburg, as a way that we can honor and remember the brave service members who gave their lives for our country.”
“We are truly honored to welcome our 43rd governor back to the State Capitol for this prestigious event,” Turzai said. “Tom Ridge served our nation and our state with the highest distinction. His service in Vietnam makes him uniquely suited to open this impressive exhibit. I am very confident this outstanding gentleman and great leader will connect with this audience in a very positive way.”
Born in Pittsburgh’s Steel Valley and raised in Erie, Ridge is well known as one of our nation’s most respected public servants. Following the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, Tom Ridge became the first assistant to the President for Homeland Security and, on Jan. 24, 2003, became the first secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Before the events of Sept. 11, Ridge was twice elected governor of Pennsylvania, serving as the state’s 43rd governor from 1995 to 2001.
Ridge was elected to Congress in 1982, one of the first Vietnam combat veterans elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Ridge continues to contribute to matters concerning our nation’s veterans and, along with Gen. Tommy Franks (Ret.), serves as national co-chairman of the Flight 93 Memorial Fundraising Campaign.
He is chairman of Ridge Global, a risk-management consulting firm and a partner and founding member of The Ridge Policy Group, a bipartisan government relations and issue management firm with offices located in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C.
The Opening Ceremony will be emceed by television personality Robb Hanrahan, of CBS 21. Music will be provided by the Valley Forge Military Academy and College Regimental Band. In addition to The Wall That Heals outside exhibit, the East Wing Rotunda will feature stories of some of Pennsylvania’s Vietnam Era veterans.
Melissa Hershey (Senator Scarnati) 717-772-0500
Kelly Fedeli (Speaker Turzai) 717-783-1633