Vietnam Veterans Day Tribute
March 29, 2020
Today is Vietnam Veterans Day and a lot of you are feeling down because you are used to going to events organized to thank you for your service and a way to be with other veterans. Because of CORVID-19 those events have been postponed.
This is my small way of taking time to let you know, you have not been forgotten and are not alone!
What this nation owes Vietnam Veterans is far more than just a day to honor your service. It goes beyond wanting to let you know we, as a nation, are sorry for the way you were treated after you served this nation.
Giving you the truth about how Vietnam Veterans Day began, is a start.
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release March 29, 2012
Presidential Proclamation -- Vietnam Veterans Day
VIETNAM VETERANS DAY
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
On January 12, 1962, United States Army pilots lifted more than 1,000 South Vietnamese service members over jungle and underbrush to capture a National Liberation Front stronghold near Saigon. Operation Chopper marked America's first combat mission against the Viet Cong, and the beginning of one of our longest and most challenging wars. Through more than a decade of conflict that tested the fabric of our Nation, the service of our men and women in uniform stood true. Fifty years after that fateful mission, we honor the more than 3 million Americans who served, we pay tribute to those we have laid to rest, and we reaffirm our dedication to showing a generation of veterans the respect and support of a grateful Nation.
The Vietnam War is a story of service members of different backgrounds, colors, and creeds who came together to complete a daunting mission. It is a story of Americans from every corner of our Nation who left the warmth of family to serve the country they loved. It is a story of patriots who braved the line of fire, who cast themselves into harm's way to save a friend, who fought hour after hour, day after day to preserve the liberties we hold dear. From Ia Drang to Hue, they won every major battle of the war and upheld the highest traditions of our Armed Forces.
Eleven years of combat left their imprint on a generation. Thousands returned home bearing shrapnel and scars; still more were burdened by the invisible wounds of post-traumatic stress, of Agent Orange, of memories that would never fade. More than 58,000 laid down their lives in service to our Nation. Now and forever, their names are etched into two faces of black granite, a lasting memorial to those who bore conflict's greatest cost.
Our veterans answered our country's call and served with honor, and on March 29, 1973, the last of our troops left Vietnam. Yet, in one of the war's most profound tragedies, many of these men and women came home to be shunned or neglected -- to face treatment unbefitting their courage and a welcome unworthy of their example. We must never let this happen again. Today, we reaffirm one of our most fundamental obligations: to show all who have worn the uniform of the United States the respect and dignity they deserve, and to honor their sacrifice by serving them as well as they served us. Half a century after those helicopters swept off the ground and into the annals of history, we pay tribute to the fallen, the missing, the wounded, the millions who served, and the millions more who awaited their return. Our Nation stands stronger for their service, and on Vietnam Veterans Day, we honor their proud legacy with our deepest gratitude.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 29, 2012, as Vietnam Veterans Day. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that commemorate the 50 year anniversary of the Vietnam War.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.
Now you know that this day to offer as tribute to Vietnam Veterans began back in 2012, but as you also know, the years are not the truth. The years are just those recognized as such.
You know the first recognized service member killed in Vietnam was Air Force T-Sgt. Richard B. Fitzgibbon Jr. The following facts are from The Wall
The first American soldier killed in the Vietnam War was Air Force T-Sgt. Richard B. Fitzgibbon Jr. He is listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having a casualty date of June 8, 1956. His name was added to the Wall on Memorial Day 1999.
First battlefield fatality was Specialist 4 James T. Davis who was killed on December 22, 1961.And the last came in 1975.
The last American soldier killed in the Vietnam War was Kelton Rena Turner, an 18-year old Marine. He was killed in action on May 15, 1975, two weeks after the evacuation of Saigon, in what became known as the Mayaguez incident.
Others list Gary L. Hall, Joseph N. Hargrove and Danny G. Marshall as the last to die in Vietnam. These three US Marines Corps veterans were mistakenly left behind on Koh Tang Island during the Mayaguez incident. They were last seen together but unfortunately to date, their fate is unknown. They are located on panel 1W, lines 130 - 131.
This is from the President Ford Library
When you came home, treated as if you should not have returned, you accomplished so much for the sake of the same people who did worse than turn their backs on you.
At the Orlando Nam Knights fundraiser for Homes For Our Troops, Vietnam Veteran and Medal of Honor hero Sammy Davis talked to me about what it was like coming home after all he'd been through. It is a story few have heard before. As Sammy put it, it is one of the reasons no other veteran will ever come home treated like that again.
Vietnam Medal of Honor Sammy Davis has a message to all the troops coming home. Talk about it! Don't try to forget it but you can make peace with it. Dixie Davis has a message for the spouses too. Help them to talk about it with you or with someone else.
All over the country, men and women like Sammy returned with a new mission. Taking care of other veterans and making sure that no generation ever had to go through what they went through.
Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. (VVA) is a national non-profit corporation founded in 1978 in the United States that is committed to serving the needs of all veterans. It is funded without any contribution from any branch of government. VVA is the only such organization chartered by the United States Congress and dedicated to Vietnam veterans and their families. The group holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code. Its founding principle is "Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another."
Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the only national Vietnam veterans organization congressionally chartered and exclusively dedicated to Vietnam-era veterans and their families.
By the late 1970s, it was clear the established veterans groups had failed to make a priority of the issues of concern to Vietnam veterans. As a result, a vacuum existed within the nation’s legislative and public agenda. In January 1978, a small group of Vietnam veteran activists came to Washington, D.C., searching for allies to support the creation of an advocacy organization devoted exclusively to the needs of Vietnam veterans. VVA, initially known as the Council of Vietnam Veterans, began its work. At the end of its first year of operation in 1979, the total assets were $46,506.
I met my Vietnam veteran husband in 1982. Everything I have learned about PTSD came because of him and the wonderful man I saw beneath the pain he carried home with him. The following are videos I started to make in 2006 because I ended up falling in love with all Vietnam veterans because of what you did for all of us!
This was the first one and it was shown by a member of the US Navy bringing troops back from Iraq.