THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
VIETNAM WAR COMMEMORATION
A Department of Defense initiative in 2008 led the Secretary of Defense to create a program to honor the nation's Vietnam veterans and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the country's involvement in the conflict in Southeast Asia.
The Commemorative Program was created by Public Law 110-181 SEC.598; "2008 National Defense Authorization Act". It authorized the Secretary of Defense to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and "in conducting the commemorative program, the Secretary shall coordinate, support, and facilitate other programs and activities of the Federal Government, State and local governments, and other persons and organizations in commemoration of the Vietnam War."
The Secretary of Defense shall determine the schedule of major events and priority of efforts for the commemorative program, in order to ensure achievement of the objectives specified in Law.
The commemorative program will include activities and ceremonies to achieve the following objectives:
- To thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War, including personnel who were held as prisoners of war (POW), or listed as missing in action (MIA), for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States and to thank and honor the families of these veterans.
- To highlight the service of the Armed Forces during the Vietnam War and the contributions of Federal agencies and governmental and non-governmental organizations that served with, or in support of, the Armed Forces.
- To pay tribute to the contributions made on the home front by the people of the United States during the Vietnam War.
- To highlight the advances in technology, science, and medicine related to military research conducted during the Vietnam War.
- To recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by the allies of the United States during the Vietnam War.
★ Service ★ Valor ★ Sacrifice ★ PRESIDENT'S PROCLAMATION
As we observe the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, we reflect with solemn reverence upon the valor of a generation that served with honor. We pay tribute to the more than 3 million servicemen and women who left their families to serve bravely, a world away from everything they knew and everyone they loved. From Ia Drang to Khe Sanh, from Hue to Saigon and countless villages in between, they pushed through jungles and rice paddies, heat and monsoon, fighting heroically to protect the ideals we hold dear as Americans. Through more than a decade of combat, over air, land, and sea, these proud Americans upheld the highest traditions of our Armed Forces.
The President's Proclamation in 2012 extended the commemoration of the conflict from Memorial Day in 2012 to Veterans Day in 2025. According to the VA, the "commemoration recognizes all men and women who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces during the U.S. involvement in Vietnam from November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975. Nine million Americans, of which approximately 7.2 million are still living today served during that period, and the commemoration makes no distinction between Veterans who served in-country; in-theater; or were stationed elsewhere during those 20 years. All answered the call of duty."
The length of the celebration seems a bit unusual, but the part the United States played in the war wasn't exactly "usual," either.
- Vietnam 50th Year Commeration Home Page
- Vietnam 50th Facebook Page
- Vietnam 50th Timeline
- Vietnam 50th This Week In History
- Vietnam 50th Primary Sources
- Statistics: • History.com • National VN Vets Foundation
- Mobile Riverine Force Association Home Page
- Mobile Riverine Force Association Statistics
- International World History Project Statistics
- Fatal Casualty Statistics
Dept. of Defense Vietnam War Commemoration Website.
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