National Vietnam War Veterans Day is March 29

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 19, 2020

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Are you aware of the newest national holiday, National Vietnam War Veterans Day, on March 29? On March 28, 2017, President Trump signed into law the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 (Public Law 115-15), designating every March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. This new holiday joins six other military-centric national observances codified in Title 4 of the United States Code: Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, Navy Day and Veterans Day.

From President Donald Trump’s 2017 Presidential Proclamation, “To ensure the sacrifices of the nine million heroes who served during this difficult chapter of our country’s history are remembered for generations to come, I signed into law the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017, designating March 29 of each year as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. Throughout this commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War, and every March 29 thereafter, we will honor all those who answered our nation’s call to duty. We vow to never again confuse personal disapproval of war with prejudice against those who honorably wear the uniform of our Armed Forces. With conviction, our nation pledges our enduring respect, our continuing care, and our everlasting commitment to all Vietnam veterans.”

The Department of Defense asked for commemorative partners to encourage participation in the 50th Commemoration of the Vietnam War. Col. Joseph Winston Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), became a commemorative partner in 2014.

The commemoration recognizes all who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the period of Nov. 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975, regardless of duty location; and their families.

No distinction is made between veterans who served in-country, in-theater, or who were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period. All were called to serve and none could self-determine where they were stationed. For these veterans, the Department of Defense provides Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pins free of charge.

Nov. 1, 1955, was selected to coincide with the official designation of Military Assistance Advisory Group-Vietnam (MAAG-V); May 15, 1975 marks the end of the battle precipitated by the seizure of the SS Mayaguez.

U.S. involvement in Vietnam started slowly with an initial deployment of advisers in the early 1950s, grew incrementally through the early 1960s and expanded with the deployment of full combat units in July 1965. The last U.S. personnel were evacuated from Vietnam in April 1975.

The Department of Defense also has an honor certificate program and provides certificates and pins for former Vietnam prisoners of war, immediate family of those killed in action or missing in action, and surviving spouses of Vietnam veterans who died after the war. Although the Department of Defense asked for a commitment of three events per year for three years, Col. Joseph Winston Chapter DAR has held 77 events and honored 2,565 Vietnam veterans with lapel pins, two former POW, 43 family of those KIA, and 56 surviving spouses.

In the past, Col. Joseph Winston Chapter Chairman of the Vietnam 50th Commemoration Ann Zuhr has honored Vietnam veterans and their families at Derrick Davis Cancer Center on or near March 29. In 2019, she manned a table in the lobby of the cancer center and distributed 29 Vietnam veteran lapel pins and one surviving spouse honor certificate and pin. She also provided tin pins and bumper stickers, provided by DoD, to encourage the public to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families, to cancer center patients, caregivers and staff.

This year, due to recent surgery, Zuhr is not able to continue the Derrick Davis Cancer Center event. However, she did arrange a display in the foyer of the Reynolda Manor Branch Library at 2839 Fairlawn Drive NW, Winston-Salem. This display includes 15 posters covering African Americans in the Vietnam War, U.S. Army air mobility in the Vietnam War, medical advancements of the Vietnam War, Riverine operations in the Vietnam War and U.S. servicewomen in the Vietnam War.

The display also includes a teacher’s toolkit for classroom teachers who wish to obtain resources for their students. The library has one that can be checked out, and the display includes information on how to obtain free copies of this toolkit.

What can you do? Fly your flag on March 29. Thank Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice to our country. If you know Vietnam veterans who have not yet received their Vietnam veteran lapel pins or anyone qualified for the honor certificates and pins, please call Ann Zuhr at 336-703-5379 to arrange for a presentation of these and other commemorative items. Celebrate National Vietnam War Veterans Day!