Tribute ceremony, memorials, concerts, The Wall That Heals, and military artifact displays among offerings during two-day event
Owings Mills, Md. – Thousands of Vietnam veterans from across the mid-Atlantic region, together with family members and a grateful public, gather at the Maryland State Fairgrounds on Father’s Day weekend, June 18-19, for Maryland Public Television’s LZ Maryland tribute event. Hours are Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Gates open both days at 9:30 a.m.
LZ Maryland welcomes home and honors Vietnam veterans from Maryland and nearby states and is the culmination of MPT’s multi-million dollar MPT Salutes Vietnam Veterans initiative.
Admission is free for all veterans, active-duty military, Gold Star families, and children age 12 and under. Entry is only $5 for all other attendees. Free and paid tickets are available at mpt.org/lzmaryland, Maryland locations of Wegmans Food Markets and at admission gates during the event (cash only).
Event highlights include:
- Tribute Ceremony – A Saturday evening 6 p.m. ceremony honors Maryland’s Vietnam veterans and features the presentation of colors, the national anthem, remarks, music, heartfelt sentiments of appreciation, and more. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan provides the state’s salute at this ceremony. A Chinook helicopter flyover is planned during the ceremony.
- The Honor Ride – Also Saturday, hundreds of members of veteran motorcycle organizations, associations, and clubs participate in a motorcycle Honor Ride, representing the 1,017 Marylanders who died in combat or are still missing. Veteran-participants gather at American Legion Post 22 in Towson and travel to LZ Maryland, entering in formation at approximately 2 p.m. Riders then perform a throttle salute for the fallen.
- The Wall That Heals – LZ Maryland hosts the 250-foot, half-size replica of the Washington, DC, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, including a mobile Education Center featuring memorabilia left at the DC memorial. Its walls bear the names of the more than 58,000 men and women who perished in the war.
- Chair Memorial – Rows of white empty chairs are placed at the fairgrounds track infield in silent tribute to the 1,017 Marylanders killed or missing in action. Signage bearing names of those represented accompanies the display.
- Vietnam “Tour of Duty” Map – A 140-foot map of Southeast Asia is an LZ Maryland focal point. The map is manufactured so that veterans, family members and friends walk on it, sign it, or make other notations. Veterans can sign the places where they served, or visitors might sign places where loved ones perished.
- Entertainment – Performers on two stages keep visitors entertained throughout the weekend. The outdoor main stage offers performances by The Association, the Lovin’ Spoonful, The Motortown All-Stars, the U.S. Air Force Band’s “Singing Sergeants” and “Celtic Aire” ensembles, and Bob Hope USO-style Show. An indoor stage features regional and local bands performing hits from the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. Performers are The Harbor City Music Company, The Memories, Brooklyn Jon and the Blues Shakers featuring Gene Vincent, Family Tradition Band, Six String Soldiers, and The Fabulous Hubcaps.
- Aircraft and Motorpool Display – Visitors enjoy displays of Vietnam-era military vehicles including jeeps and tanks, along with helicopters including Hueys, a gunship, a medivac, observation helicopters, and more.
- Veteran Services Village – Veteran services organizations discuss various topics and connect veterans to resources. Representatives from nonprofits assist veterans – one-on-one – with advice on PTSD, Agent Orange, traumatic brain injuries and other concerns. Companies and organizations that offer veterans assistance with job placement, financial services, legal aid, and housing assistance also are available.
- Reunion Lounges – Large lounge areas provide sites where veterans and families may reunite, relax and relate. Reunion lounges are clearly marked by military branch.
- R&R Family Zone – The R&R Family Zone is an indoor retreat with activities, shopping, dining and performances that can be enjoyed by the entire family. It includes kids craft stations, a motorpool and thank-you gallery.
- Basic Training Course – Here individuals and family members compete or race against time in this boot camp-inspired obstacle course.
- Writers Hooch – Attendees meet Vietnam veteran authors, participate in literary discussions, and peruse publications on the topic of the Vietnam era. Books from appearing authors are on sale.
Limited parking is available on and around the fairgrounds property. Use of buses and Light Rail transportation is recommended.
Additional LZ Maryland activities and offerings are detailed at mpt.org/lzmaryland and at social media sites @MPTSalutesVets on Twitter and “MPT Salutes Vietnam Veterans” on Facebook.
Maryland Public Television is a commemorative partner in the 50th anniversary observance of the U.S. Department of Defense Vietnam War Commemoration. The Commemorative Partner Program is designed for federal, state and local communities, veterans organizations and other nongovernmental organizations to assist a grateful nation in thanking and honoring our Vietnam veterans and their families.
Launched in 1969 and headquartered in Owings Mills, Maryland Public Television is a nonprofit, state-licensed public television network and member of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). MPT’s six transmitters cover Maryland plus portions of contiguous states and the District of Columbia. Frequent winner of regional Emmy® awards, MPT creates local, regional, and national television shows. Beyond broadcast, MPT’s commitment to professional educators, parents, caregivers, and learners of all ages is delivered through year-round instructional events and the super-website Thinkport, which garners in excess of 14 million page views annually. MPT’s community engagement connects viewers with local resources on significant health, education, and public interest topics through year-round outreach events, viewer forums, program screenings, and phone bank call-in opportunities.