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Thank a Vietnam vet

Dear Editor:

March 29, 2020 marks National Vietnam Veterans Day, which recognizes and honors all Vietnam Era Veterans and their families. The historic significance of this particular day is that it was on March 29, 1973, when our combat troops left Vietnam and the last of 591 acknowledged POWs returned to the U.S. in “Operation Homecoming.”

The Farmville American Legion Post 32, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 7059, and the Piedmont Area Veterans Council had planned a program March 29 to honor all veterans who served in the U.S. Military during the Vietnam War. The event for this year has been canceled in keeping with the efforts to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.

On February 18, the Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs, Mr. Robert Wilkie stated:

“President Trump signed the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act on March 28, 2017, to recognize and thank our Vietnam Veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice during one of the longest wars in our country’s history. This Act designates every March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day—a day for all Americans to come together to remember and honor the service and sacrifice of our Vietnam Veterans and their families.

We remember 9 million American men and women—more than 6 million living today— who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces during our involvement in Vietnam from November 1, 1955, to May 7, 1975. Whether they were stationed in-country, in-theater, or elsewhere during those two decades, they answered the call to duty.”

More than 230,000 Virginians served the nation in Vietnam, more than 1,300 lost their lives, and 46 Virginians are still listed as missing in action. Of the 246 service members who were awarded the Medal of Honor during the conflict, eight were Virginians, including seven who died in action.

The Vietnam War was extremely divisive among Americans at the time, and the debate about the country’s involvement in the war deprived many members of the armed forces of public support and appreciation of their patriotic service.

The soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who returned from Vietnam were never accorded the recognition and praise that was routinely given returning servicemen and women in earlier wars. It is important that the extraordinary contributions of America’s Vietnam War Era veterans and the sacrifice of their families be remembered and recognized.

You can learn more about this memorable time in our history at the Vietnam War Commemoration Commission web site at www. vietnamwar50th.com.

So on this important day, please reach out and thank a Vietnam veteran, welcome them home and remember that, “All gave some, some gave all.”

For God and Country,

Fred Hill, Commander, VFW Post 7059

Dennis Merkle, Commander, American Legion Post 32

Ed Dunn, Co-Founder, Piedmont Area Veterans Council