We commemorate those who fought in the Vietnam War on National Vietnam War Veterans Day, March 29. There’s no doubt that the Vietnam War was one of the most brutal. In fact, over three million people were killed during the 20 years it went on. It was known as the Second Indochina War to Americans, and considering its long fighting time and brutality, National Vietnam War Veterans Day was created to honor all the men and women who fought during its time.
History of National Vietnam War Veterans Day
The Vietnam War has a long history. It was one of the longest wars involving America. Starting in 1955, the war went on until 1975, making it the second-longest war, aside from the ongoing Afghanistan War. Over 2.7 million Americans served during this war In 1973. All combat and support units withdrew from Vietnam following the war, but it continued to have an impact on many of the families and people affected by the war.
National Vietnam War Veterans Day is acknowledged on March 29 every year, honoring anyone who served during its 20-year time. Since respect and combat support wasn’t immediately given to those who served after the war ended because of the number of deaths, the day was founded in 2017 to finally offer that respect to everyone involved.
Understanding that it wasn’t the soldiers’ choices to go to war, U.S. Senators Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., introduced the legislation proposing the anniversary of the withdrawal of military units from South Vietnam as the date. It was President Donald Trump who signed the Act on March 29, calling for U.S. flags to be flown on this day to honor everyone who served during this time, whether they were in Vietnam or not.
Every year since it was founded in 2017, this national day has continued to be recognized on March 29. Aside from honoring those who fought, four other parts of this day that are meant to be highlighted are the service of the Armed Forces and support organizations during the war; the wartime contributions at home; the advancements in technology, science, and medicine; and the contributions by American allies.
National Vietnam War Veterans Day timeline
Congress incorporates language in H.R. 4986 authorizing this, which is then signed into law in 2008.
The commemoration is held at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
This leads to the 2017 legislation outlining March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
They outline the history and timeline to ask for Vietnam War Veterans Day to be one of the first legislations passed during the U.S. 115th Congress.
National Vietnam War Veterans Day FAQs
How many Vietnam War veterans are still alive?
The U.S. estimates that about 610,000 people who fought during the time of the war are still alive today.
How old are the Vietnam War veterans today?
Ages range between 55 and 97, but the median is 68 years old.
Is National Vietnam War Veterans Day a federal holiday?
National Vietnam War Veterans Day is a U.S. holiday observed annually on March 29.
How to Honor National Vietnam War Veterans Day
Donate money to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund
Check out their Facebook page on this day where you can watch a live stream and read messages of thanks and, if you can, donate a bit toward the Fund to help those who are still alive after the war and may need support from organizations such as this. If you can’t donate, visit a memorial or volunteer at a commemoration.
Talk to any family members who may have been a part of it
Whether they were on the frontline or not, you may have parents or grandparents that served or were directly or indirectly involved in this wartime. Not everyone is comfortable talking about their time in the war, but some people enjoy sharing what they went through as a way to vent and cope. Listen to your parents’ or grandparents’ stories — you may learn something interesting about them.
Thank a Vietnam veteran!
Not only is this a good way to reach out to someone new and start a positive relationship, but they’ll absolutely appreciate you taking the time to thank them for their effort 50 years ago.
5 Facts About The Vietnam War
The average age of soldiers was 19
This is a big difference from the average age of 26 in WWII.
The Medal of Honor was awarded 258 times
This is the highest military decoration.
The U.S. spent over $140 billion on the Vietnam War
In today’s economy, that’s about $1 trillion!
500,000 people attended the anti-war rally
There were many all over the world, but this one took place in Washington, D.C. in 1969.
It isn’t called the Vietnam War in Vietnam
Instead, it is called the American War.
Why we love National Vietnam War Veterans Day
It recognizes everyone
This day is special because it doesn’t just recognize soldiers who fought in it, it recognizes anyone who was involved. Whether it’s the families who struggled back home, those working the support lines, or even other soldiers stationed elsewhere during the same time, this day is to appreciate everyone.
It altered society’s perception
When soldiers first returned, people were not respectful toward them. War is drastic on the economy, but many who were involved had no choice but to go, and they deserve the respect and recognition for that. This national day changed that negative view.
It gives veterans a chance to share their experience
It’s not easy to talk about the war, especially if you were a soldier. You probably witnessed a lot of terrible things. But a national day like this gives people an opportunity to share their experiences and teach the world a lesson on why wars should be avoided in the future.
National Vietnam War Veterans Day dates