By Bob Jacobs and Jerry Alperstein
On January 18, 2023, approximately 40 members of JWV and the Ladies Auxiliary gathered at the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
JWV’s Vietnam Veterans Committee sponsored the event. Committee Chairman Bob Jacobs welcomed everyone who attended the event and issued a special welcome home for the Vietnam veterans in attendance. Jerry Alperstein played the national anthem on his bugle.
Jacobs reflected on the problems faced by veterans when they returned from service in Vietnam. He noted that the public did not separate their distaste for the war from those who were forced to fight in it.
National Commander Nelson Mellitz spoke about how Jews have stepped up to serve in every conflict in this country since the Revolutionary War. He also talked about his memories of anti-Vietnam veteran protests. He said Vietnam veterans pledged to “leave no one behind” and to make sure that later veterans would not be similarly mistreated. He pledged that he and future JWV National Commanders will continue to protect all veterans.
General Edward Chrystal, the head of Taskforce 23, which is overseeing the official Vietnam War 50th anniversary commemoration on the National Mall this May spoke to the assembled group as well.
The General thanked the work done by Vietnam vets, which helped ensure that later veterans would not be mistreated following their return. He also spoke about the role JWV plays in helping all veterans.
Jacobs, Mellitz, Chrystal, and Alperstein ended the remembrance ceremony by placing a wreath at the site.
Volume 77. Number 1. 2023