Honoring Vietnam War Veterans

By Kate Logan,

The United States of America
Vietnam War Commemoration

March 29 marks the 5th anniversary of National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

Five years ago, the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act created this national observance. This act designated March 29, in perpetuity, as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. This special day joins six other military-centric annual observances codified in Title 4 of the United States Code §6, including Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day.

Many ask, why March 29? It is a fitting choice for a day honoring Vietnam veterans. On March 29, 1973 the United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam was disestablished. It’s also the day the last U.S. combat troops left Vietnam, and the same day Hanoi released the last of its acknowledged prisoners of war.

On March 29 in Washington, D.C., the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration has arranged a wreath-laying ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, each accompanied by a Vietnam War Gold Star family member, plan to participate in this ceremony. All whose names are etched in the black granite of “The Wall” will be honored, along with their families. Plans include livestreaming this event on the Commemoration Facebook page.

In recognition of the 5th anniversary of National Vietnam War Veterans Day, the commemoration published a new poster highlighting the many faces—then and now—of Vietnam veterans who nobly served our Nation. Their courage, collective sacrifice and heroism inspires a deep respect and reverence in the hearts of Americans everywhere!

The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, authorized by Congress, established under the Secretary of Defense, and launched by President Obama in 2012, will continue through Veterans Day 2025.

Congress laid out five objectives for this commemoration, with the primary goal being to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice, with distinct recognition of former prisoners of war and families of those still listed as missing in action and unaccounted for.

The four objectives include highlighting the service of our Armed Forces and support organizations during the war, paying tribute to wartime contributions at home by American citizens, highlighting technology, science and medical advances made during the war, and recognizing contributions by our Allies.

This commemoration honors all veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time from November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of location. There is no distinction between veterans who served in-country, in-theater, or who were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period. All were called to serve, and none could self-determine where they would serve. All were seen in the same way by a country that could not separate the war from the warrior, and each person who served during this period deserves the Nation’s profound thanks.

Of those who served during this timeframe, the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates today there are six million U.S. Vietnam veterans living in America and abroad, along with nine million families.

Since 2012, more than 3.2 million who served between November 1, 1955 and May 15, 1975, and their families, have been publicly thanked by friends and neighbors during nearly 22,000 ceremonies hosted by our dedicated Commemorative Partners – but there is still more to do.

The commemoration staff encourages every American to show their deep gratitude to this generation of warriors and their families. Visit www.vietnamwar50th.com to learn how your organization can become a Commemorative Partner, gain access to commemorative materials, including Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pins for presentations to Vietnam veterans and their families, and contribute to this noble mission.

Finally, help the nation reach Vietnam veterans who may be living in isolated conditions, those physically unable to attend commemorative events, and those in assisted living or care facilities. Honoring these warriors is simply the right thing to do and they have earned it!

Volume 76. Number 1. 2022