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Monday, March 28, 2011

The US Senate Recognizes Vietnam Veterans Day

Congress Recognizes Vietnam Veterans Day 
Photo by Bobby Coggins from the 2009 Vietnam Veterans Day Parade in Franklin, NC

The U.S. Senate has declared March 30th as “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day,” agreeing unanimously to a resolution introduced by Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

On March 30, 1973, all U.S. troops withdrew from Vietnam under the terms of the Treaty of Paris. This March 30th, the Senate has encouraged Americans across the country to recognize Vietnam veterans for their sacrifice and demonstrate a warm welcome to these soldiers who returned from war to a politically divided country.

“I’m pleased that the Senate has agreed to set aside a day to give our Vietnam veterans a warm, long-overdue welcome home. I strongly encourage communities throughout North Carolina and across the country to observe this day with activities that honor these veterans for their service. It’s time they received the recognition they have earned and deserve. This day also provides our nation with an important teaching moment. Never again should our men and women serving in the armed forces receive the same treatment as those returning from Vietnam,” said Senator Burr.

The United States became involved in Vietnam because policy-makers believed that if South Vietnam fell to a communist government, communism would spread throughout the rest of Southeast Asia. The US Armed Forces began serving in an advisory role to the South Vietnamese in 1961, and in 1965, ground troops were sent into Vietnam. On March 30, 1973, after many years of combat, all US troops withdrew. More than 58,000members of the United States Armed forces lost their lives and more than 3000,000 were wounded in Vietnam.

Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Thad Cochran (R-MS), James Inhofe (R-OK), and Johnny Isakson (R-NE) co-sponsored the legislation. The resolution now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

The Bill Text is below:

S.RES.55 -- Expressing support for designation of a `Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day'. (Introduced in Senate - IS)



1st Session

S. RES. 55

Expressing support for designation of a `Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day'.


February 16, 2011

Mr. BURR (for himself, Mr. INHOFE, Mr. BOOZMAN, Mr. COCHRAN, Mr. ISAKSON, and Mr. JOHANNS) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs


Expressing support for designation of a `Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day'.

Whereas the Vietnam War was fought in the Republic of South Vietnam from 1961 to 1975, and involved North Vietnamese regular forces and Viet Cong guerrilla forces in armed conflict with United States Armed Forces and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam;

Whereas the United States Armed Forces became involved in Vietnam because the United States Government wanted to provide direct military support to the Government of South Vietnam to defend itself against the growing Communist threat from North Vietnam;

Whereas members of the United States Armed Forces began serving in an advisory role to the Government of the Republic of South Vietnam in 1961;

Whereas, as a result of the Gulf of Tonkin incidents on August 2 and 4, 1964, Congress overwhelmingly passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (Public Law 88-408), on August 7, 1964, which provided the authority to the President of the United States to prosecute the war against North Vietnam;

Whereas, in 1965, United States Armed Forces ground combat units arrived in Vietnam;

Whereas, by the end of 1965, there were 80,000 United States troops in Vietnam, and by 1969, a peak of approximately 543,000 troops was reached;

Whereas, on January 27, 1973, the Treaty of Paris was signed, which required the release of all United States prisoners-of-war held in North Vietnam and the withdrawal of all United States Armed Forces from South Vietnam;

Whereas, on March 30, 1973, the United States Armed Forces completed the withdrawal of combat units and combat support units from South Vietnam;

Whereas, on April 30, 1975, North Vietnamese regular forces captured Saigon, the capitol of South Vietnam, effectively placing South Vietnam under Communist control;

Whereas more than 58,000 members of the United States Armed Forces lost their lives in Vietnam and more than 300,000 members of the Armed Forces were wounded;

Whereas, in 1982, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in the District of Columbia to commemorate those members of the United States Armed Forces who died or were declared missing-in-action in Vietnam;

Whereas the Vietnam War was an extremely divisive issue among the people of the United States and a conflict that caused a generation of veterans to wait too long for the United States public to acknowledge and honor the efforts and services of such veterans;

Whereas members of the United States Armed Forces who served bravely and faithfully for the United States during the Vietnam War were often wrongly criticized for the policy decisions made by 4 presidential administrations in the United States;

Whereas the establishment of a `Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day' would be an appropriate way to honor those members of the United States Armed Forces who served in South Vietnam and throughout Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War; and

Whereas March 30, 2011, would be an appropriate day to establish as `Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day': Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved, That the Senate--
      (1) honors and recognizes the contributions of veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces in Vietnam during war and during peace;
      (2) encourages States and local governments to also establish `Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day'; and
      (3) encourages the people of the United States to observe `Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day' with appropriate ceremonies and activities that--
        (A) provide the appreciation Vietnam War veterans deserve, but did not receive upon returning home from the war;
        (B) demonstrate the resolve that never again shall the Nation disregard and denigrate a generation of veterans;
        (C) promote awareness of the faithful service and contributions of such veterans during their military service as well as to their communities since returning home;
        (D) promote awareness of the importance of entire communities empowering veterans and the families of veterans to readjust to civilian life after military service; and
        (E) promote opportunities for such veterans to assist younger veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in rehabilitation from wounds, both seen and unseen, and to support the reintegration of younger veterans into civilian life.

Track the bill at Gov Track.
Hat Tip to David F. Sherrill 

My hometown has already celebrated Vietnam Veterans Day, having first done so in 2009. I hope that they continue the tradition this year. I have embedded video I took of the 2009 celebration, as well as links to coverage by two other citizen journalists below:

This is the first Vietnam Veterans Day Parade held in Franklin, NC on March 28, 2009 to honor Vietnam Veterans for their service, and to remember those who fell in service to the nation.

Excellent coverage of this event was accomplished by other citizen journalists present that day:

My Town Franklin 

Beautiful Franklin 

The complete ceremony recognizing our Vietnam Veterans is below: 
(there are several videos in the playlist)

This is the Ceremony that marked Vietnam Veterans Day in Franklin, NC on Saturday, March 28, 2009.

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