Memorial Day 2021

Memorial Day Video Program to Honor Military, VA Nurses

Speakers include Chief of U.S. Air Force Nurse Corps, Miramar Young Marines Leader, Cemetery Director

Military nurses who care for members of America’s fighting forces in wartime, and the Veterans Administration nurses who continue that care following the members’ service, deserve recognition and appreciation from the nation for their dedication and personal sacrifice, Memorial Day speakers will declare during an program to be posted on-line May 27. 

The Miramar National Cemetery Support Foundation will sponsor the 30-minute program, whose theme is, “Dear to my Heart.” The program will be available at, beginning Wednesday, May 26, 2021. 

“The covid pandemic is still preventing us from hosting a live Memorial Day service,” said Sallay Kim, President & CEO of the Support Foundation. “However, the speakers participating in our on-line video program have thoughtful and inspiring messages to bring us that will honor military and VA nurses for their service, and pay a well-deserved tribute to our veterans.” 

Air Force Nurse Corps Chief is Featured Speaker

Brigadier General Jeannine M. Ryder

Brig. Gen. Jeannine Ryder, USAF, Chief of the Air Force Nurse Corps, and commander of the 59th Medical Wing, will offer the keynote address from her headquarters in San Antonio, Tex.

During Ryder’s 30-year career in Air Force medicine, she has held commands at the flight, squadron and group levels at Air Force bases in the U.S., Germany, and Southwest Asia. She deployed to Afghanistan in 2008. 

In her current assignment leading the 59th Medical Wing, Ryder is responsible for the care of more than 254,000 patients, 4,000 surgical procedures, and 300 worldwide deployments of Air Force personnel annually.

Young Marines Leader is Guest Speaker

This year’s guest speaker is a departure from speakers at previous Memorial Day observances. Young Marines Sgt. Maj. Sophia Righthouse, 17, has compiled a remarkable list of personal achievements for someone so young. She will discuss her experiences serving veterans, and the importance of honoring America’s values.

Righthouse currently leads some 60 young men and women, ages 8 to 18, as they work together on community projects. She also is a Cadet Lieutenant in the Naval Junior Officer Training Corps at Westview High School in Torrey Highlands. This fall, she will attend Norwich University in Vermont on an Army ROTC scholarship.

At age 14, Righthouse was awarded the Outstanding Lifesaving Unit Citation by the San Diego Fire Department, and has received many other honors, including the City of San Diego’s Youth of the Year Award.

Sgt. Maj. Sophia Righthouse leading troops

Greta L. Hamilton, director of Fort Rosecrans and Miramar National Cemeteries, will welcome viewers on behalf of the Veterans Administration, and highlight the history of military and VA nurses who have cared for wounded service members in war and peace.

Support Foundation Official to Host Program

Support Foundation President Sallay Kim will host this year’s Memorial Day on-line program. She is a retired U.S. Army major with more than 20 years’ service. She is owner of Serenity Event Solutions of San Diego, a firm that plans and manages public and private events.

Foundation Chairman Dennis Schoville, a retired U.S. Army helicopter pilot who was severely wounded when his aircraft was shot down in Vietnam, will introduce General Ryder, and will reflect on the high quality of care he received in military hospitals while recuperating from his wounds. 

While serving in Vietnam, Schoville was awarded two Silver Stars, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal, and three Purple Hearts for combat-related injuries, among others. In civilian life, Schoville retired after 45 years as a leading trial attorney practicing personal injury, product liability, and insurance law in San Diego. 

The Memorial Day video program was filmed at the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park.

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