African American Cultural Council (AACC) of Virginia Beach
356 Dodge Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23452, (757)557-9724
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: October 11, 2001
Contact: Freddi E. Moody
OPERATION BABYLIFT REMEMBERED
The African American Cultural Council of Virginia (AACC) is proud to invite you to cover its 5th annual Salute to Minorities in the Military during FLEET WEEK. Nationally prominent figures, including Congressman William Delahunt of Massachusetts, as well as local dignitaries, have been invited to participate in this important event on October 18, 2001 at 6:30p.m. at Grand Affairs in Virginia Beach, VA.
The ceremonies will honor women and minorities in the US Armed Forces, but this year will pay special tribute to Asian Americans. In particular, we will honor the people involved in the heroic effort which brought 2,700 Vietnamese children to our country after the fall of Saigon a quarter century ago, as well as the adoptees themselves, their American parents, and the dedicated individuals who keep the memory of this extraordinary event alive and educate the public about its significance.
Freddi E. Moody, president and co-founder of AACC says, “The price of freedom has never been cheap,the events of yesterday’s wars and the events of September 11th, proves that. But Operation Babylift transformed American society and succeeded in weaving the threads of America’s quilt into a beautiful garment of many vibrant, pulsating living colors. A rainbow quilt made of Ameriasians and Vietnamese children brought onto our shores to become a vital part of Americas fabrics through the families who adopted them.”
“The importance of Operation Babylift transcended what most people observed,” explains Jennifer Nguyen Noone, who was an infant when she flew to the United States during this historic mission. “The rescuing and nurturing of Vietnamese adoptees became a means of healing and reconciliation for both the United States and Vietnam.”
Jennifer’s mother, Lana Noone, will be among those who will receive an award for her activism on this issue. Other invited recipients will include Congressman Delahunt, whose daughter was part of the same rescue operation; Shirley Peck Barnes,author of “The War Cradle: Vietnam’s Children of War”; Sister Susan McDonald, a nurse who treated some of the children for two years in a Vietnam orphanage; Phil Wise, a medic of the ill-fated C5A and Bud Traynor, the pilot of the fated plane. Some of the Vietnamese adoptees themselves also will be honored. As will some of the survivors from the fatal crash of the Galaxy C5A plane that took off from Saigon April 4,1975; 154 people died in that accident, including children, military personnel, nurses and volunteers. This was the first plane authorized by President Ford to rescue these children.
“This tribute deserves attention for many reasons: It highlights a historic event that’s far more significant than most people realize; it underscores the critical role that adoptees, especially thoseborn in other countries, play in the historic reshaping of the American family;and, coming at a time when people feel particular gratitude and respect for the military, it honors the men and women who have always been there when it mattered most,” said Adam Pertman, author of “Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming America.” Pertman will be one of our speakers on October 18.
There will be a special preview screening at the Salute of PRECIOUS CARGO, a documentary which follows adoptees from Vietnam in search of their history and culture in their homeland. And the public can meet authors of the WAR CRADLE and ADOPTION NATION, at a book signing on Oct.18, Walden Bookstore, noon – 1:30pm, MacArthur Centre Mall in Norfolk, VA.
Inclusive in the FLEET WEEK activities will be the AACC FESTIVAL of PRIDE Multi-Cultural Unity Concerts on the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, October 13 and 14 at the 24th Street Stage. The highlights of this event will be the US Navy Sea Cadets opening ceremony on Saturday and the Sunday tribute to the USO.Tribute performers will include the Army Continental Band, Navy’s Atlantic Fleet Band, and the Princess Anne High School choir.
Tickets for the Awards Ceremony and Dinner are $35.00 advance and $15.00 military/veterans and may be purchased through TICKETMASTER or MWR offices.
For further information or to arrange interviews, either for advance stories or at the ceremony, please contact:
Freddi E. Moody,regarding the event itself. 757-557-9724, 757-434-0821 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Adam Pertman, for adoption information. 617-332-8944.
INTERESTED IN PLACING AN AD IN THE SOUVENIR PROGRAM? CALL 757-213-2154.
(Ms.) Freddi E. Moody, President
African American Cultural Council of Virginia Beach