NATIONAL VIETNAM WAR VETERANS DAY: A day for Americans to remember and honor the courage and sacrifice of all those who served in the Vietnam War.
In 2012, President Barack Obama signed a presidential proclamation, designating March 29 as the annual observance of Vietnam War Veterans Day.
The signing of the proclamation marked the 50th anniversary of the departure of the last American troops from Vietnam — March 29, 1973. Only U.S. embassy personnel and support staff remained in South Vietnam until the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975.
More than 58,000 Americans were killed and many thousands more were wounded and injured or determined to be missing.
The proclamation also states: “In one of the war’s most profound tragedies, many of these men and women came home to be shunned or neglected — to face treatment unbefitting their courage and a welcome unworthy of their example. We must never let this happen again.”
Although U.S. military advisors had been in South Vietnam since 1955, the proclamation states that Jan. 12, 1962, was the starting point of the war. This is the date when America’s first combat mission, Operation Chopper, was launched.
On that day, U.S. Army pilots airlifted more than 1,000 South Vietnamese soldiers to an area about 12 miles west of Saigon to capture a National Liberation Front stronghold. The NLF, also known as the Viet Cong, were communist fighters who were in South Vietnam.
On March 28, 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed into law the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017, which named March 29 National Vietnam War Veterans Day. The bill amended the U.S. flag code to include National Vietnam War Veterans Day as a day on which the flag should be flown.
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