Vietnam War veterans honored across US on 51st anniversary

Vietnam War veterans honored across US on 51st anniversary
via FOX43 News, ABC 13
Michelle De Pacina
17 days ago
National Vietnam Veterans Day was observed across the country on the 51st anniversary of the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Vietnam. 
Key points:
  • On Friday, Vietnam War veterans were honored with various events commemorating their service and sacrifice across the U.S., including in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York
  • March 29 commemorates the cessation of the war in 1973, though many veterans felt forgotten upon their return. Former President Barack Obama declared the day as National Vietnam War Veterans Day in 2012, and in 2017, Congress officially recognized it. 
The details:
  • In Kentwood, Michigan, a veterans group held lunch and dinner events to honor over 400,000 Michigan service members who served during the war. 
  • In Grand Rapids, 45 veterans also received lapel pins symbolizing courage and honor, presented by Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Director Brian Love. Attendees stressed the importance of continuing to honor their sacrifices.
  • “Some sacrificed their lives. Some of us came home wounded, either physically or mentally. Some both. That’s the reason we have a free country. We can’t forget any of that. That’s why this is important,” said veteran Thornell Billinslea, who was wounded in action.
  • Similarly, in Ohio, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 10 organized a luncheon in collaboration with Vietnam Veterans of Southwest Ohio Foundation to bring the forgotten veterans together. They celebrated the homecoming that veterans should have received decades ago.
  • “We felt a little bit left behind or disrespected or ignored back in the day. You know, we didn’t have the welcome home parades. We kind of just slipped back into society,” said Charlie Doan from the foundation.
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Making history: 
  • Last week, the Pennsylvania General Assembly adopted resolutions recognizing March 29 as Vietnam Veterans Day and established a task force on Agent Orange and other toxins to assist veterans in accessing VA benefits.
  • On Friday, the White Rose chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America in York County also honored the roughly 231,500 Pennsylvanians who served in the war, with hundreds who are still alive receiving lapel pins. 
  • In New York, Chinese American veterans were honored in Chinatown during a ceremony hosted by Lt. B.R. Kimlau Chinese Memorial Post 1291 on Saturday. 
  • Thirty-seven members were individually recognized with proclamations from Gov. Kathy Hochul, presented by Benjamin Pomerance from the New York State Department of Veterans’ Services. 
  • Pomerance emphasized the overdue recognition for Asian American veterans. “Again, it is many years and many decades over due to finally provide you with the proper thanks and proper welcome home for what you did for the United States of America,” Pomerance said.
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