50 Years After War, Vietnam Veterans Honored for their Service to our Nation

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50 Years After War, Vietnam Veterans Honored for their Service to our Nation

#1 Postby boardman » Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:40 pm

50 Years After War, Vietnam Veterans Honored for their Service to our Nation

Vietnam-era veterans were honored this afternoon during a noon-time ceremony at the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Capitol Park.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, California Department of Veterans Affairs, and Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 500 held a ceremony to recognize Vietnam-era veterans and present them with commemorative lapel pins marking the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

“We are so happy to partner with the state of California and the local chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America in celebration of Vietnam veterans. It is our privilege to be able to recognize the sacrifices these veterans have made for our great nation,” said Wendy Torres, Director, Oakland Regional Benefits Office, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “Veterans are at the heart of everything we do at the VA and it is our honor to have shared that sentiment with everyone who attended.”

Speakers at the event included: Congressman Ami Bera; Assembly member Ken Cooley; Bradley Phillips, Pacific District Director, National Cemetery Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; Col. John Klein, Commander of the 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis Air Force Base; and Russell Atterberry, Undersecretary, California Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Fifty years ago, a generation of American men and women stepped up to serve their country in a strange place, for unclear reasons and against an unknown enemy,” said Atterberry. “They stepped up to serve their country and they didn’t receive the warmest welcome when they returned home. Now it’s our job to ensure that the contributions of Vietnam veterans will not be forgotten in 50 years or even in 150 years.”

Each year, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 500 hosts a ceremony to honor Vietnam veterans and provide the “welcome home” that was missing when they returned home years ago. This year, the event also served to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. More than 100 Vietnam veterans attended the ceremony and received a commemorative lapel pin in honor of their service to our nation.

“Today, we honor all the brave men and women who served their country during the Vietnam War, to give them the thanks and ‘welcome home’ they so rightly deserved, but never received,” said Martin J. Snezek II, President of Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 500.

BACKGROUND: Nearly three and a half million Americans served in the United States military during the Vietnam War and related conflicts in Southeast Asia between 1959 and 1975. More than 58,000 U.S. service members died during the Vietnam War, including 5,656 Californians.

The U.S. Vietnam War Commemoration began on Memorial Day in 2012 and will conclude on Veterans Day in 2025. The period of November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975 is being used to recognize the service and sacrifice of those who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces. November 1, 1955 was selected to coincide with the official designation of Military Assistance Advisory Group-Vietnam (MAAG-V), and 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 advisors 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.
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