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Former defense secretary to speak in Seattle at opening of Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park in Seattle at The Museum of Flight.
The Museum of Flight
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park in Seattle at The Museum of Flight.

Former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis will be the keynote speaker at the opening of a park honoring Vietnam veterans at The Museum of Flight in Seattle. The free, public event begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday.The former marine general and member of Trump's cabinet has connections to Washington state. Mattis grew up in Richland and graduated in 1971 from Central Washington University.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park is adjacent to The Museum of Flight. It includes a statue of a veteran and a tribute wall. Dominating the park is a completely restored B-52 bomber, which sits in the center. Museum spokesman Ted Huetter says the B-52G Stratofortress was given to the museum 30 years ago by the U.S. Air Force. He says it was too big to display inside and was in need of restoration.

"Finally, it was largely through the efforts of a few veterans that we came up with the concept of let's build an outdoor park, a memorial to everyone who served in Vietnam," Huetter said.

Huetter said that sets it apart from other memorials; it honors both those who died in the war and those who came home. And, although the museum focuses on aviation, the memorial is for people from every branch of military service, he said.

Saturday's ceremony at the museum will include military plane and helicopter flyovers.

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.