Today is Vietnam Veterans Day

Published 9:46 pm Monday, March 28, 2016

On March 29, 2012, President Barack Obama issued a presidential proclamation declaring it as Vietnam Veterans Day. Later, another presidential proclamation issued on May 25, 2012 proclaimed the period from May 28, 2012 until November 11, 2025 as the “Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War.”  Congress authorized the Secretary of Defense under Public Law 110-181SEC.598 to conduct programs to commemorate the occasions.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley issued a proclamation declaring March 29, 2012 as “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day” in the state of Alabama for all who served during the Vietnam War.

A befitting tribute to a group of super patriotic veterans who were not treated kindly upon arriving back during and after the war. As a matter of fact, it is a shameful chapter in the annals of American history. Then, just as now, there are those who find fault with everything and act out their differences in the ugliest of ways.

It is despicable the treatment some of our brave soldiers and sailors experienced coming back home after fulfilling their patriotic duty to our country. While proclaiming a Vietnam Veteran Day is a step in the right direction, there is probably nothing that can erase the ugliness endured by this group of veterans.

Since proclaiming the Vietnam commemoration period, each March 29 has been observed as Vietnam Veterans Day. The Department of Veterans Affairs just announced it will conduct hundreds of events in VA facilities this year for Vietnam veterans.

The events will recognize, honor and thank Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifices.

The following is an excerpt from the Veterans Affairs announcement: “Vietnam War Commemoration recognizes all men and women who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces from Nov. 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975. Nine million Americans, approximately 7 million living today, served during that period, and the commemoration makes no distinction between veterans who served in-county, in-theater, or were stationed elsewhere during those 20 years. All answered the call of duty.”

According to the proclamation issued by Bentley in 2012, there were 58,260 brave souls who fought and died in Vietnam. The number on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall as of Memorial Day 2015 was 58,307. Of that number, in 2012, there were 1,207 from the state of Alabama.

Not only are we to honor those who fought and died, but also the men and women who survived the war.

Make it a point this March 29 to  contact a Vietnam veteran and thank him or her for their service and sacrifice during the Vietnam War. We may not be able to make up for past improprieties by some, but we can make them aware a majority of Americans are grateful and proud of them.