From the NFRW Armed Services Committee
The United States of American Vietnam War Commemoration honors all veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time from November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, whether having served in-country or not.
Vietnam War Veterans Day was officially established in 2017 by President Donald J. Trump when he signed into law The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 designating in perpetuity March 29 as the day to honor these military veterans.
Why March 29? On March 29, 1973, the United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam was officially disestablished and the last U.S. combat troops left Vietnam. After many years of war this was a bittersweet pill. The population approved of ending the war that our nation seemed to have no intention of winning. The draft had been used to fill the ranks in the military. Some young men had their lives disrupted while others seemed to avoid military service. There was a disgruntled attitude not only by the citizens but by those forced into military service. The universities were full of anti-military rhetoric and protests. Returning veterans, who did their best, were treated poorly.
As time passed America realized that the Vietnam veterans had served their country and answered the call to protect those who remained home. In the late 1970s there was a realization that Vietnam veterans needed specialized health services and deserved recognition for their sacrifices. In 1979 the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund was conceived by Jan Scruggs, a wounded veteran of the war, and Robert Doubek, an attorney and former Air Force Intelligence officer. Shortly thereafter, the Vietnam Memorial was approved for construction.
Many have visited the National Mall and viewed the Vietnam Memorial Wall dedicated in 1982 and the Three Soldiers statue added in 1984. In 1993 the Vietnam Women’s Memorial was added just north of the Reflecting Pool. Eight women, all nurses serving in the Army (7) and Air Force (1), lost their life in Vietnam and are listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. During the Vietnam War women served in many military components including nurses, physicians, air traffic controllers, communications specialists, and intelligence officers.
To understand more about those who served during the Vietnam War, research the oral history of LCDR Bobbi Hovis. She served not only in Vietnam but also in Korea during the Korean War.
Visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial if you get a chance. It is moving!