Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day – FAQ
National Vietnam War Veterans Day – Quick Facts
- National Vietnam War Veterans Day recognizes veterans who served in the US military during the Vietnam War.
- President Donald J. Trump signed the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 on March 28, 2017 to officially recognize March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
- The act encourages the display of the U.S. flag each year on March 29th.
- The last combat troops were withdrawn on March 29th, 1973 from Vietnam.
- Many veterans who returned home did not receive any recognition for their service.
- These veterans came home to a divided country and many had trouble adjusting to civilian life.
- 45 states and Puerto Rico recognize Vietnam Veterans Day either annually or for a specific year.
- Over 8 million U.S. troops served in Vietnam according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
When is Vietnam Veterans Day?
Historically, Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day is a holiday that has been celebrated since 1973 on either March 29th or March 30th of each year through a patchwork of state resolutions. The first Vietnam Veterans Day, declared by President Richard Nixon in 1974, coincided with the one-year anniversary of the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Vietnam on March 29, 1973. Today, the holiday is officially observed on March 29th and is referred to as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
Why Do We Recognize National Vietnam War Veterans Day?
National Vietnam War Veterans Day is an opportunity to recognize and give thanks for all who served during the Vietnam War, including those who were wounded, gave their lives, or went missing. Even in the face of controversy and opposition at home, millions of Americans honorably answered the call to serve our country during this tumultuous time in history. And when those who were fortunate enough to come home finally returned, they were met by ugly protests, scorn and neglect. National Vietnam War Veterans Day is the heroes welcome they never received. It underscores the need to heal their painful wounds and allows us the occasion each year to pause and give respect, admiration and thanks to the patriotic men and women who sacrificed so much in service to their nation.
Is National Vietnam War Veterans Day a National Holiday?
Many state and local governments have legislated or hosted programs, ceremonies and activities to mark the occasion of honoring Vietnam war veterans every year. In 2012, President Barack Obama issued a new presidential proclamation to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. In his decree, President Obama spoke of the tragedies of the war, the heroism and the patriotism exhibited by our combat veterans. He emphasized the importance of extending to Vietnam veterans the same honor and gratitude we solemnly bestow upon all U.S. military veterans. In 2017, the date of the holiday was set as March 29th by U.S. President Donald Trump and officially known as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
Where Do People Celebrate Vietnam Veterans Day?
National Vietnam War Veterans Day is celebrated all across the country. Recognition dinners, ceremonies, reunions and other events are organized at community, state and national levels to give thanks to those who have served.
The most popular place to honor Vietnam veterans is at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. This three-part monument – consisting of the Three Soldiers Statue, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial and the iconic wall listing the names and dates of our Vietnam War casualties – creates a poignant memorial to the men and women who served and sacrificed during the war. In 2016, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald honored Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day at the memorial by participating in a wreath-laying ceremony.
If you can’t make it to Washington or a nearby regional event, refer to the schedule for The Wall That Heals, a travelling education center and mobile half-scale replica of the famous memorial wall. Typically, you can find photo exhibits and memorials at VA centers and cemeteries, too.
How Can I Help Honor Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day?
The first step is the simplest: Find a veteran in your local area, and thank him or her for their service. You can also attend an event or ceremony near you to give thanks. Find upcoming and past events near you.
If you’d like to help by donating money or essential items, a donation to Paralyzed Veterans of America will help us fight for veterans rights and support life-changing programs to help improve their lives. If you prefer to volunteer your time, you can contact your local Paralyzed Veterans chapter or VA center to find opportunities to get involved in your community.