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National Vietnam Veterans Day

March 29 is National Vietnam Veterans day.

VA thanks and honors our approximately 7 million living Vietnam Veterans and the 10 million families of those who served during the Vietnam War period.

Since the birth of the United States, no single generation of Americans has been spared the responsibility of defending freedom by force of arms. More than 44 million American men and women have sacrificed and served in times of war. Their collective service and individual sacrifices have safeguarded the cherished concepts embodied in our constitution.

Most military families endure the hardship of separation, uncertainty and fear, but the families of our Vietnam Veterans also witnessed their husbands and wives, sons and daughters, and fathers and mothers returning home to a nation in turmoil. They watched as the vast majority received no formal recognition for their service or welcome home ceremonies hosted by their communities. 

Like Veterans returning from today’s battlefields, those who served in Vietnam came home with both physical and unseen injuries of war. Many of the unseen injuries suffered by our Vietnam Veterans went undiagnosed and weren’t understood by our medical community or citizenry as they are now. Veterans were left to meet these challenges without the assistance available today. 

Emotional video illustrates one Veteran’s experience

We offer our nation’s thanks to as many as possible of the living Vietnam Veterans and the families of the Veterans who served from Nov. 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975. 

Too many who fought in Vietnam never experienced that return home or the chance to marry and have children or grandchildren. Their futures were cut short, and their hopes and dreams along with it. The families of those who didn’t return whose names are etched on The Wall experienced the painful loss of a loved one without the collective support of their nation. 

These inclusive dates maximize the recognition of United States military Veterans who served on active duty during the Vietnam War period. No distinction is being made between Veterans who served in-country, in-theater or who were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period. All were called to serve and the overwhelming majority served honorably and admirably. 

58,307 names appear on the Wall in Washington, D.C. Many tens of thousands were disabled. Approximately 7,500 women, the majority of whom were nurses, served in Vietnam. Eight were killed in theater, all of whom were nurses. And 1,627 are still considered missing in action and their families await word of their fate. 

We have the opportunity to welcome them home

Some continued to serve in uniform while many returned to civilian life, started families and immediately began contributing to their communities. Some took up service as police officers, teachers, doctors and nurses. From town halls and boardrooms to the nation’s capital, others became leaders and elected public servants. 

As World War II and the Korean War reached their 50th anniversary, our nation commemorated our warriors’ service and sacrifice. Now, we have the opportunity to do what should have been done 50 years ago: Welcome our Vietnam Veterans home with honor and thank them and their families for their service and sacrifice. 

Across the country, thousands of local, state and federal organizations are hosting events each year to thank and honor our Vietnam Veterans and their families. The commemoration’s cause is indeed noble and thanking and honoring these Veterans and their families is the right thing to do.

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