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Presidential Proclamation – Vietnam Veterans Day

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VIETNAM VETERANS DAY

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

On January 12, 1962, United States Army pilots lifted more than 1,000 South Vietnamese service members over jungle and underbrush to capture a National Liberation Front stronghold near Saigon.  Operation Chopper marked America's first combat mission against the Viet Cong, and the beginning of one of our longest and most challenging wars.  Through more than a decade of conflict that tested the fabric of our Nation, the service of our men and women in uniform stood true.  Fifty years after that fateful mission, we honor the more than 3 million Americans who served, we pay tribute to those we have laid to rest, and we reaffirm our dedication to showing a generation of veterans the respect and support of a grateful Nation.

The Vietnam War is a story of service members of different backgrounds, colors, and creeds who came together to complete a daunting mission.  It is a story of Americans from every corner of our Nation who left the warmth of family to serve the country they loved.  It is a story of patriots who braved the line of fire, who cast themselves into harm's way to save a friend, who fought hour after hour, day after day to preserve the liberties we hold dear.  From Ia Drang to Hue, they won every major battle of the war and upheld the highest traditions of our Armed Forces.

Eleven years of combat left their imprint on a generation.  Thousands returned home bearing shrapnel and scars; still more were burdened by the invisible wounds of post-traumatic stress, of Agent Orange, of memories that would never fade.  More than 58,000 laid down their lives in service to our Nation.  Now and forever, their names are etched into two faces of black granite, a lasting memorial to those who bore conflict's greatest cost.

Our veterans answered our country's call and served with honor, and on March 29, 1973, the last of our troops left Vietnam.  Yet, 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.  Today, we reaffirm one of our most fundamental obligations:  to show all who have worn the uniform of the United States the respect and dignity they deserve, and to honor their sacrifice by serving them as well as they served us.  Half a century after those helicopters swept off the ground and into the annals of history, we pay tribute to the fallen, the missing, the wounded, the millions who served, and the millions more who awaited their return.  Our Nation stands stronger for their service, and on Vietnam Veterans Day, we honor their proud legacy with our deepest gratitude.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 29, 2012, as Vietnam Veterans Day.  I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that commemorate the 50 year anniversary of the Vietnam War.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.

BARACK OBAMA

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marksteuber

April 6, 2012 - 1:34am

I am a vietnam vet that has PTSD and agent orange but the worst thing is I have no country after the way we were greeted on coming home. the korean war vets were not greeted home as well. I say it is a day late and a dollar short!!!!!!!

Felix M Villanueva Perez

March 31, 2012 - 11:19pm

I am proud to be a serviceman in the USARMY. I served in Viet-nan during Feb 28, 1967 to March 5, 1968 in QuiNon. Its about time to give us a recognition by Mr. President Barack Obama.

safetypro

March 30, 2012 - 10:40am

Hoorah! To all my fellow Viet Vets, it's about time. To everyone who serves their country and big THANK YOU from the heart of an old vet.

judson21

March 30, 2012 - 3:12am

A proclamation is a lot cheaper than doing the right thing for the blue water navy. our government has become a joke, time for either our elected officials to step up for what they say our get out of the way, still enough of us havent died for our claims to be taken care of.

ronseagleputt

March 29, 2012 - 9:20pm

I was in the 9th Division, mechanized recon infantry, during the TET offensive. I was severely blown up by rocket fire during a night firefight and sent home. The reception was typical of the times. We were called baby killers, spit on, and cursed at. My buddy Jerry, who went threw basic training and AIT with me and later fought with me was killed by gun fire that night. I now, will forever dedicate Vietnam Veterans Day to Jerry and to all those who gave all for this great country we call the USA. Thank you President Obama for signing the document in our Lords name today. R.G.Cruz '67-'69

latkins02

March 29, 2012 - 7:57pm

Thank you SIR for not forgetting us. God Bless the USA! Thanks to all my brothers and sister for their service. Semper Fi L.A.Atkins 1972-1973

roygray42

March 29, 2012 - 7:47pm

I was on okinawa, dec 62 thru dec 63, not aware of what was going on in vietnam at the time. Except that from time to time guys would disappear for awhile and sometimes come back in body bags. Brother was wounded in june 68. Buddy stepped on bobby trap and died. Doug got shrapnel wounds, multiple. He never got over the trauma of seeing his buddy die... at a time when 'his country' didn't seem to know why it was fighting that war. On Vietnam Veterans Day, 3/29/2012... For all those guys that didn't come back and for all who served, I Salute You! Semper Fi - royg

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