Legion Family members welcome home, honor Vietnam veterans

Legion Family members welcome home, honor Vietnam veterans

Established by the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017, National Vietnam War Veterans Day takes place annually on March 29 and is intended to honor the 9 million Americans who served during the Vietnam War era, the 58,000 names memorialized on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the thousands still unaccounted for. On March 29, 1973, the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam was disbanded and the departure of the last American troops took place.

In addition to honoring those who fought in the war, Vietnam War Veterans Day also is a time to say “Welcome home” to those who never received the recognition they deserved upon their return home from Vietnam.

And across the nation, members of the American Legion Family did just that, spearheading or hosting dinners, recognition ceremonies and other events. The following are just a few examples of how The American Legion commemorated Vietnam War Veterans Day. Those posts who conducted similar events are encouraged to share their stories and photos on legiontown.org.


In Manteca, McFall-Grisham Post 249 hosted a gathering that included antique military vehicles on display and a lunch.


- In Macclenny, American Legion Post 83 teamed with the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1134 to pay tribute to those who served during the Vietnam War. Vietnam veterans in attendance were paraded into the post’s dining room as their names were called out. There, they were cheered with “welcome home” signs and small American flags.

After remarks by guest speakers, everyone in attendance was treated to a complimentary steak dinner courtesy of Post 83 and Chapter 1134.  The Vietnam veterans in attendance also received lapel pins.

- Sons of The American Legion Squadron 189 in Sebastian hosted a Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans dinner at Post 189. Vietnam veterans received a free dinner and read a banner that post members and neighbors made comments on. Legion Family members also lit the Vietnam War Monument and the recently dedicated POW-MIA Monument in the City's Riverview Park for all to see.


In Canton, Thomas M. Brady American Legion Post 45 used its monthly meeting to honor all of its members who served in the Vietnam War. The post also honored Vietnam War Army veteran Michael Conley, who earned two Silver Stars, a Bronze Star and Soldiers Medal during his service in Vietnam.

“We are pleased to have these members as part of our Legion post and we are grateful for their service to our country," said Post 45 Commander Raymond Rollins.


In McHenry County, Woodstock American Legion Post 421 was the primary organizer of the county’s first Vietnam veteran memorial service. The event was attended by around 80 people and took place at the McHenry County Government Center in front of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, where the names of 35 servicemembers from the county who died in the war are inscribed.

Prior to the ceremony, Post 421 Commander Lou Ness researched those names on the memorial to find their branches of service and ages.


In Valparaiso, Charles Pratt American Legion Post 94 hosted an event for the community that included guest speakers and the reading of names of those lost during the war.

“We pay tribute to the more than 3,000,000 servicemen and women who left their families to serve bravely, away from everyone they knew and everything they loved,” Post 94 Commander Christine Martel said during the ceremony. “Through more than a decade of combat, these proud Americans upheld the highest traditions of our armed forces.

“We draw inspiration from those who suffered unspeakably as prisoners of war that returned with their heads held high,” said Martel. “We still carry the scars of war, seen and unseen.”


In Wichita, Post 4 Commander Kenny White was one of the guest speakers at the ceremony at Wichita Veterans Memorial Park.

“It is about all of us that served,” White said. “We are losing way too fast. For some reason, the Vietnam vet, in the last 14 years, is dying off quicker than any other generation before us. It has a lot to do with Agent Orange.”


In Elizabethtown, Hardin Post 113 conducted its annual Vietnam Veteran Honors Dinner to honor and welcome home Hardin County Vietnam veterans. Hundreds attended the dinner and ceremony.

“We’re welcoming them home and showing them the respect that they deserve but never got,” Post 113 Adjutant Drew Chitty said. “This event lets the veterans get together with their brothers-in-arms, and helps them know that they’re not the only ones going through what they’re going through.”


In South Hadley, American Legion Post 260 and Sons of The American Legion Squadron 260 teamed with the Veterans of Foreign Wars and The Military Order of the Purple Heart to conduct a ceremony. The event included guest speakers, as well as the playing of Taps to honor local veterans killed in action in Vietnam. 


In Elsie, members of Post 502’s American Legion Family took part in a flag line at the Alfred E. Lutz VA Medical Center. The group stood for four hours, thanking veterans for their service and giving away 47 Vietnam War lapel pins and a Last Full Measure of Devotion Vietnam War Lapel Pin to the family of a soldier killed in action during the war.

New Mexico

In Roswell, American Legion Post 28 hosted a ceremony attended by around 40 area residents. The event included remarks from Post Commander Rebecca Cobos, Roswell Mayor Tim Jennings and retired New Mexico National Guard Brig. Gen. Fermin A. Rubio. 

Each of the 22 Chaves County servicemembers who died in the Vietnam War were honored by having the names, ranks, dates of birth and death of the deceased read aloud, and a token of remembrance for each was placed on a wreath.

New York

·       In New York City, Chinese American Vietnam War veterans were honored during a ceremony in Chinatown with a proclamation from New York’s Governor. Lt. B.R. Kimlau Chinese Memorial Post 1291 hosted a ceremony; 37 of its members who served during the Vietnam War were each honored with a proclamation signed by New York Governor, Kathy Hochul. The proclamations were presented to each veteran by Benjamin Pomerance, the Deputy Counsel from the New York State Department of Veterans’ Services.

·       In New Rochelle, American Legion Post 8 commemorated the day with an event at City Hall. Members of the post read the names of New Rochelle residents who were killed in action. "We have a lot of members in our post that are Vietnam veterans, and we feel it's important to remember those who sacrificed during the war," said Post 8 Commander Dennis Starr.

North Carolina

In Greenville, members of American Legion 39 attended a ceremony honoring Vietnam veterans at the Greenville VA Clinic. A welded rebar tree has been built in the clinic’s garden and contains replica dog tags of veterans. The tags were placed on the tree by veterans themselves and by Shelton Harris, commander of American Legion Post 39.

“To have the privilege to honor those that cannot be here that fought and served for our country that need to have representation, to support them and stand up for them, it’s a great honor for me to hang those tags on the tree,” Harris said. “As a veteran, for me it means that other people recognize us and appreciate the service that we put forward for our country and nation.”


In Cedar City, American Legion 74 played a big role in recognizing Vietnam veterans during a ceremony at the city’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park.

American Legion Post 74 member and District 7 Commander Harold Frazer delivered remarks during the ceremony, as well as read the names of the 14 Utah servicemembers still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

“This is a time to pay special tribute to the 9 million Americans who served during the Vietnam War era, to the 58,000 names memorialized on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and to all of those who never received the recognition they deserved when they returned to America from war,” Frazer said. “Let us never forget the sacrifices of these men, their families and all who served and suffered for our freedom.”


In Smithfield, Dashiell-Barlow Post 49’s Legion Family hosted 70 guests, including 30 Vietnam veterans, during a dinner and recognition ceremony. The event included entertainment, a presentation of lapel pins, personal reflections by veterans and a guest speaker. The post also honored a Gold Star Family member whose brother was killed during the Vietnam War.