In January 1973, a negotiated peace between North and South Vietnam was agreed, and on March 29, 1973, the United States Military Assistance Command Vietnam was disbanded, sending the last American combat troops home.
On the same day, Hanoi released the last prisoners of war they admitted to holding, however, many Vietnam veterans and veterans organizations believe that over 100 were held. Vietnam veterans continue to take their fallen brothers with them.
On March 29, 1974, President Richard Nixon said in a speech: “Friday, March 29, 1974, shall be a day of remembrance… urging all citizens of all ages to participate in the events of this day as a means of honoring those men and women who served their country with loyalty and courage during the Vietnam conflict.
Since Nixon’s speech, there have been several proclamations recognizing the day, including in 2008 in Tennessee, when the state legislature designated March 29 as Vietnam War Veterans Day to honor those who served in the 20-year conflict.
On March 29, 2012, President Barack Obama’s presidential proclamation declared that March 29 would be observed annually as National Vietnam War Veterans Day because, as the former president said, many returning of Vietnam were “avoided or neglected” and suffered “treatment befitting their courage”. and a welcome unworthy of their example.
President Donald Trump then signed legislation on March 28, 2017, creating the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017, establishing a national holiday to recognize and honor the courage and sacrifices of all who served. in the US Army during the Vietnam War. The bill also amended the US flag code to include March 29 as the day the flag must be flown.
About 75 people attended the first Vietnam War Veterans Day event in Williamson County last week. Hosted by the Williamson County chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America #1140 on March 29, it featured Miss Nashville Savannah Madison of Thompson’s Station, who sang the national anthem; keynote speaker US Army Brig. Gen. (Retired) Kurt Winstead; and lots of cake, coffee, and fellowship with veterans and local leaders.
“It’s a day to pause and reflect on who we are, what we’ve done, what we’ve achieved and to remember the dead we’ve fought with,” said chapter president Rich Krejsa. local Vietnam Veterans of America. “Back then, people said, ‘Hate war; hate the warrior. Today is: “Hate the war; love the warrior.
Madison spoke briefly about a nonprofit project she developed called Savannah’s Soldiers, in which local fifth-grade students write letters to deployed soldiers.
“When I was in fifth grade, my best friend’s dad was deployed to Afghanistan,” she said. “Until then, I had never known anyone in the army and I didn’t know anything about it. I won’t stop until all the kids know about the military.
Since 2012, when Madison launched the program, more than 750,000 letters have been written to deployed soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen and at veterans’ hospitals.
Winstead spoke of the sacrifices made by Vietnam veterans and the treatment they endured when they returned to a country riddled with hatred for war and warriors. Many were spat at, hissed at, bludgeoned and insulted, he said. They were even told not to wear their uniforms when entering the United States.
“That’s not true,” Winstead said. “We spend the rest of our days saying, ‘Thank you for the sacrifices you’ve made.’
“This state, this nation, has not left you. It is important to remember the sacrifices you have made. … The things you did were a huge sacrifice.
Later that day, March 29, Spring Hill Mayor Jim Hagaman and Brig. General Richard Winn’s Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution presented a short ceremony dedicated to Vietnam veterans. Members of the Southern Springs Veterans Club honor guard led the flag-raising ceremony, and Governor Bill Lee’s Vietnam War Veterans Day proclamation was read by Betty Chinery, member of the DAR.
Marine Corps Lt. Col. (Retired) Ted McLyman, the event’s keynote speaker, spoke about military warrior boots.
“The warrior stands up for what is most dear to us – our values,” he said. “Boots created this country, boots changed this country and boots defined this country. When you got home, you quietly went on with your life. You’ve put on new boots and continued your business, started a family, and done amazing things in the community.
The 45-minute ceremony included military music, a prayer and tap dancing by bugler Dennis May.