Senate designates Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day


By SHARON LONGMAN
For The Oakland Press

The U.S. Senate recently passed a resolution to honor veterans who served in Vietnam by designating March 30 as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.

North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, introduced the resolution. March 30 marks the anniversary of the day that combat and combat-support units withdrew completely from South Vietnam.

Burr noted that unlike other war veterans, those coming home from Vietnam were not greeted with gratitude. Instead, many were scapegoated for the unpopular war.

“Our soldiers served honorably and bravely in Vietnam,” Burr said. “Unfortunately, they arrived home to a country in political turmoil, and never received the recognition they deserve. By setting March 30 aside as a day to focus on our Vietnam veterans, we can show our unified gratitude for their service and the sacrifices that these veterans made on our behalf.”

Burr also encouraged communities throughout the country to observe this day with activities and events that honor these veterans for their service and give them recognition they have earned and deserve.

“This day also provides our nation with an important teaching moment,” Burr said. “Never again should our men and women serving in the armed forces receive the same treatment as those returning from Vietnam.”

The United States became involved in Vietnam because policymakers believed that if South Vietnam fell to a communist government, communism would spread throughout the rest of Southeast Asia. The U.S. Armed Forces began serving in an advisory role to the South Vietnamese in 1961, and in 1965, ground combat troops were sent into Vietnam. After many years of combat, all U.S. troops were withdrawn from Vietnam on March 30, 1973, under the terms of the Treaty of Paris. More than 58,000 members of the United States Armed Forces lost their lives and more than 300,000 were wounded in Vietnam.


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