MARCH 27 - MESSAGE
To the Members, Associate Members and friends of VVA Chapter 218 | Santa Barbara:
This weekend, in the midst of all the upheaval in our lives due to the COVID-19 outbreak, I urge each of you to take a few moments of quiet reflection as the nation—hopefully—also pauses to remember, honor and respect all who served during the Vietnam War era.
The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act, signed into law in 2017, designates March 29 of each year as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. It reflects the day of March 29, 1973 when the last of America’s troops left Vietnam and the last U.S. prisoners of war held in North Vietnam landed on American soil. It was also the date that President Nixon had chosen for the first Vietnam Veterans Day in 1974. In 2009, California officially designated March 30 of each year as “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day”.
As Veterans, we’ve never needed an official day to welcome home our comrades, nor a designated day to remember those who never made it out of the big muddy. Our country has come a long way since the time when just being seen in your uniform could get you the silent treatment, dirty looks, sideways glances or worse. It still smarts a bit that it took an official act, signed nearly 42 years after the war ended, to give proper and rightful national recognition to the millions of Veterans who served during the era (1959-1975).
So this weekend, wear your Vietnam Veteran cap and put on your chapter shirt, even if the only people who will see you are those in your household, sheltering in place like everyone else. Or should be. Whatever memories you carry about your time in uniform—good, bad, funny, sad, tragic or all of the above—you may want to share with your family or friends. It doesn’t have to be a “tell-all”; but it can let folks know that you remember—and will not forget—where you where, what you were doing, and the friends you made along way, no matter where you were stationed in the world. Remember, you didn’t have to be in-country to be a Vietnam Veteran.
I know we are often conflicted about the conflict. But this weekend, take a break from the 24-hour news cycle and take time to honor everyone who served; those whose names remain forever etched in stone on The Wall and those we have lost long after the war ended.
Welcome home my friends, I am forever proud to have served with you.
Vietnam Veterans of America | Chapter 218
Santa Barbara, CA