The Vietnam War was one of the most substantial military conflicts in the second half of the 20th century. It began as a civil war in South Vietnam and then transformed into a war between North Vietnam and the government of South Vietnam. North Vietnam was supported by the Soviet Union and China; South Vietnam was supported by the United States and anti-communist allies.
The domino theory, which argued that if one country fell to communism, then all of the surrounding countries would follow, was first proposed as policy by the Eisenhower administration and led to the official involvement of the United States in the conflict in 1965. Huge amounts of money, resources and human life were expended in Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand before American units withdrew during the last days of March 1973.
Whether they volunteered or were drafted, it is estimated that one out of ten soldiers were injured or killed during Vietnam. Many returning veterans faced adverse reactions from both opponents of the war (who viewed them as having killed innocent civilians) and its supporters (who saw them as having lost the war), along with physical damage including the effects of exposure to the toxins such as Agent Orange.
While Veterans Day has been observed on November 11 since the end of the First World War, National Vietnam War Veterans Day was first suggested in 1974 to honor Vietnam War veterans specifically.
On March 28, 2017, President Donald Trump signed the “Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017.” This bill amends title 4 of United States Code to encourage the flying of the American flag on National Vietnam War Veterans Day every year on March 29 and establishes it as a federal holiday. Part of that presidential proclamation reads “Throughout the current Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War, and every March 29 thereafter, we will honor all those who answered our Nation’s call to duty. We vow never again to confuse personal disapproval of war with prejudice against those who honorably wear the uniform of our Armed Forces. With conviction, our Nation pledges our enduring respect, our continuing care and our everlasting commitment to all Vietnam veterans.”
National Society Daughters of the American Revolution support this effort to honor Vietnam Veterans. Founded to support education, patriotism and historic preservation, DAR chapters around the country have joined the 50th Anniversary Commemoration program, work in Veterans Hospitals, participate in Honor Flights and countless other projects which recognize and assist military veterans.
Local chapter Craig Valley encourages citizens to fly the American Flag on March 29 and look for ways every day to thank a Vietnam Veteran for their service.
– Submitted by Craig Valley DAR