The scene then was vastly different from what today’s returning Veterans experience. It’s time for America to show their appreciation to those who served, especially those who continued to sacrifice long after the war’s ending.
As part of the 50th Commemoration of the Vietnam War, VA and 29 states and territories are commemorating the anniversary of the final withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam with a day of appreciation celebrated on March 29.
More than 40 years after the war, many Veterans continued to feel the effects of their service. Some battled with Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Others fought illnesses caused by their exposure to Agent Orange and other chemical defoliants sprayed during the Vietnam War.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) believes their fight should be honored.
VVMF’s In Memory program honors those whose lives were cut short as a result of their service, but do not meet the Department of Defense (DoD) guidelines to be added to The Wall.
In Memory is a way that all Vietnam veterans can be honored on the National Mall. Every year in June, VVMF hosts the In Memory Ceremony. Loved ones join together on America’s backyard to honor their heroes’ sacrifices. They are given the chance to read their veteran’s name and leave a tribute of their veteran at The Wall, next to the more than 58,000 service members who fell in the Vietnam War.
Many families see this as long-overdue recognition for their veteran’s heroism, devotion, and courage.
“The Vietnam soldiers did not get the respect they so richly deserved when they came home from the war. Thank you so much for giving them the ‘welcome home’ that they should have gotten…”-Diana Hamlyn
In Memory began in 1999 and has since honored more than 2,500 veterans.
A plaque that honors these Veterans was dedicated as a part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 2004. It reads: In Memory of the men and women who served in the Vietnam War and later died as a result of their service. We honor and remember their sacrifice.
As we approach March 29 and this Vietnam Veterans Day, take the time to remember those who honorably served. They sacrificed for their country and deserve their nation’s appreciation and respect.
To all of our Veterans we say, ‘Welcome Home.’
As part of the 50th commemoration of the Vietnam War, VA is commemorating the anniversary of the final withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam with a day of appreciation celebrated on March 29. Check with your local VA facility for events near you.
About the author: Latosha Adams is the Social Media and Strategic Communications Specialist at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF).