A time to remember: National Vietnam War Veterans Day
Wednesday, March 29, marks National Vietnam Veterans Day. The special day was designated by President Donald Trump in 2017, establishing the day each year as a time to honor veterans of the Vietnam War.
“29 March is a fitting choice for a day honoring Vietnam veterans. It was chosen to be observed in perpetuity as March 29, 1973, was the day United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam was disestablished and also the day the last U.S. combat troops departed Vietnam,” the website dedicated to the day explained.
“In addition, on and around this same day Hanoi released the last of its acknowledged prisoners of war,” it added.
The commemoration recognizes all veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces between Nov. 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975, regardless of location. The day also recognizes the family member of these veterans.
The Department of Veterans Affairs believes that more than 7 million U.S. Vietnam veterans are alive today, along with 10 million family members of those who served during this period.
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Before the day was recognized as a holiday by former President Trump, President George W. Bush signed the National Defense Authorization Act for 2008, which included the authorization of a program to recognize the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.
President Barack Obama inaugurated the commemoration of the day at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. on Memorial Day, May 28, 2012.
Trump marked the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War in 2017 by meeting with U.S. veterans in Vietnam.
“One of my great honors is to represent the people standing right behind me — great, great warriors and veterans of the Vietnam War,” he said, according to Military.com. “To each of you with me today, you are the heroes who fulfilled your duty to our nation. And each of you, under the most difficult conditions, did what you had to do, and you did it well.”
In addition to millions of veterans and their family members, over 58,000 U.S. troops were killed in Vietnam. The conflict spanned two decades and five presidents, profoundly impacting the nation.
Many communities are remembering the day with special events. In Houston, the Mayor’s Office of Veterans and Military Affairs is hosting a ceremony that will present an official Vietnam Veteran lapel pin to each veteran in attendance and other honors.