Vietnam Veterans may soon get their own holiday, according to a bill filed with U.S. Senate.
U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, introduced a bill encouraging the president to designate March 29 as “Vietnam Veterans Day” honoring the return home of armed service members after serving in Vietnam. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is a lead co-sponsor of the legislation.
“American troops served bravely and faithfully during the Vietnam War, and these veterans deserve our recognition and gratitude they earned,” said Senator Burr. “Unfortunately, when these service members returned home, they were caught in the crossfire of public debate about our nation’s involvement in the Vietnam War, and many never received the reception and recognition they deserved.”
“Each and every American service member who sacrifices for our country deserves to be welcomed home by a grateful nation,” said Senator Boxer. “Establishing a national day of recognition for veterans of the Vietnam War will honor their service and show the deep gratitude our nation feels for these brave men and women.”
The United States’ involvement in Vietnam stemmed from concerns that if South Vietnam fell to a communist government, communism would spread throughout the rest of Southeast Asia. American forces began serving in an advisory role to the South Vietnamese in 1961, and in 1965, ground combat troops were sent into Vietnam. After many years of combat, all U.S. troops were withdrawn from Vietnam on March 29, 1973, under the terms of the Treaty of Paris.
More than 58,000 members of the United States Armed Forces lost their lives and more than 300,000 were wounded in Vietnam. The establishment of a “Vietnam Veterans Day” would serve as a small way to honor these men and women who served our country in Vietnam throughout the war, say proponents of the measure.
Vietnam veteran and American Legion Post 147 member Carlton Hawkins said he feels all war veterans are already honored by a national holiday, Veterans Day, observed on Nov. 11 each year.
“That would be great,” said Hawkins about the proposed holiday. However, he noted, “I’m a proud Vietnam veteran, and I served my country there, but why is Vietnam any different? I think sometimes that Vietnam vets get more spotlight than Korean veterans … .”
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.