About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for "Blood Road"

McGowan Theater, National Archives Building, Washington, DC
November 8, 2018

Good evening, and welcome to the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and I’m pleased you could join us for tonight’s screening of Blood Road with our special guest, Rebecca Rusch.

We are pleased to present tonight’s program in partnership with Mines Advisory Group, and we thank them for their help and support with the screening as well as for the good work they do around the globe.

Before we start the film, I’d like to let you know about two other programs coming up next week.

On Tuesday, November 13, at noon, award-winning biographer Richard Brookhiser will be here to discuss and sign his latest book, John Marshall: The Man Who Made the Supreme Court. 

Then on Thursday, November 15, at 7 p.m., we will present the U.S. premiere of The Tokyo Trials, a documentary series that chronicles the International Military Tribunal for the Far East at the end of the Second World War. The series used interviews with scholars and video records from the National Archives and other international archival collections.

Check our website, Archives.gov, or sign up at the table outside the theater to get email updates. You’ll also find information about other National Archives programs and activities.

Another way to get more involved with the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The Foundation supports the work of the agency, especially its education and outreach programs. Check out their website—archivesfoundation.org—to learn more about them and join online.

Today’s program is one in a series of discussions, film programs, lectures, and other events we are presenting in conjunction with our special exhibit, “Remembering Vietnam,” now open in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery.

The exhibit is a media-rich exploration of the Vietnam War, featuring interviews with American and Vietnamese veterans and civilians with first-hand experience of the war’s events, as well as historic analysis. It is a fascinating collection of newly discovered and iconic original documents, images, film footage, and artifacts that illuminate 12 critical episodes in the war that divided the peoples of both the United States and Vietnam.

We hope you will be able to return on Wednesday, November 14, at 2 p.m., for a special program honoring Vietnam veterans. Former Senator and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will deliver opening remarks before a panel discussion on support and resources for Vietnam veterans. Featured on the panel will be Rick Weidman, Vietnam veteran and Executive Director for Policy and Government Affairs for Vietnam Veterans of America; Linda Schwartz, former Air Force nurse and Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Policy and Planning under President Obama; and Gary Augustine, Vietnam veteran and Executive Director at the Washington Headquarters of Disabled American Veterans.

Now I ask all Vietnam veterans or any United States veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time from November 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975, to stand and be recognized.

Veterans, as you exit the McGowan Theater after today’s program, National Archives staff and volunteers will present each of you with the Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin. On the back of the pin is embossed:

“A Grateful Nation Thanks and Honors You.”

The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration is a national initiative,

and the lapel pin is the nation’s lasting memento of thanks.”

And now it’s my pleasure to introduce Rebecca Rusch, the subject and driving force behind tonight’s film. Rebecca has been a professional athlete for 25 years, earning accolades for her work around the world. The “Queen of Pain” has done it all, from riding her bike up Mount Kilimanjaro to developing training clinics to introduce more women to endurance biking to writing a best-selling memoir, Rusch to Glory.

The seven-time World Champion is recognized as a trailblazer in adventure racing, becoming the first female ascent rock climbing captain in Yosemite, river-boarding 300 miles of the entire Grand Canyon in 18 days, and giving men a run for their money in endurance mountain bike racing. Rebecca recently launched the BeGood Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports unexploded bomb clearance in Laos and preservation of public lands through personal growth and outdoor exploration.

To date she has raised more than $500,000 for various local, national, and global charities, including the Mines Advisory Group. Rebecca spends her spare time serving her community as a volunteer firefighter with the Ketchum, Idaho, Fire Department.

After the screening, Rebecca will be available to take a few questions from the audience.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Rebecca Rusch.