In the spring of 1973, 591 Prisoners of War were released and returned home from captivity in North Vietnam. On May 24 of that year, President Richard Nixon held the largest dinner ever on the White House south lawn to honor these brave men. The Fleet Week Coronado Speed Festival, which has honored and recognized our nation’s military for 16 years running, will pay tribute to these veterans, designating them military Honorary Grand Marshal. The 2013 event will be held September 21-22.
Though the fall of Saigon two years later is considered by some to be a bigger milestone, March 29, 1973 marked the day the last combat troops left Vietnam. This anniversary holds greater meaning for many who fought, protested or otherwise lived the war.
“It is more than appropriate that the Coronado Speed Festival honor these brave men on the 40th Anniversary of their release from captivity,” says Larry Blumberg, Fleet Week Coronado Speed Festival Chair. “These veterans suffered unspeakable hardships, torture and indignity at the hands of their captors, and will forever be an inspiration to all the men and women who are currently serving in our nation’s military. I am personally proud to have served alongside many of them and even prouder to call many of them friends.”
Vietnam POWs nationally will be represented by members of that group living in San Diego County. The Coronado Speed Festival recognition coincides with the national POW/MIA Recognition Day, Friday, September 20.
Tickets are now on sale for the “Race at the Base,” and are available at the event’s website. In advance, single-day tickets cost $25, or $35 for both days. Tickets will also be available at the venue ($35 one day and $45 for both days). Once again, all active duty, active reserve and their direct-dependent military ID-holders will enjoy FREE admission to this year’s event. Admission is free for children 12 and under, both military and non-military.
About Coronado Speed Festival and Fleet Week San Diego
The Coronado Speed Festival is Fleet Week San Diego’s preeminent event featuring fast-paced, thrilling auto racing and exhibitions for car enthusiasts of all ages. Staged at one of racings’ most distinctive locations Naval Air Station North Island, the birthplace of Naval Aviation it’s the only place to see live racing on an active U.S. Navy runway. Proceeds for the event benefit the San Diego Fleet Week Foundation and the Navy Morale, Welfare & Recreation (MWR) program.
About Historic Motor Sports Association (HMSA)
The Coronado Speed Festival is produced and sanctioned by Historic Motor Sports Association (HMSA). Established in 1977, HMSA specializes in race events with historic cars, emphasizing the preservation and proper use of historic race cars. For more information about HMSA, call 818-249-3515 or visit the HMSA website or follow on Facebook or Twitter.