Observing Vietnam Veterans Day Safely

March 29 is National Vietnam War Veterans Day — an opportunity to remember the 9 million American men and women who served in active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces during U.S. involvement in Vietnam from Nov. 1, 1955 to May 7, 1975 — some 6 million of whom are living today.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and hundreds of partners will continue the special 50th anniversary commemoration of the Vietnam War that launched in 2012 this year. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, VA recommends remembering veterans with socially distanced community activities from March 25 – March 29.

“This is an opportunity for all Americans to recognize and thank our Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice during one of America’s longest wars,” the VA Blog says. “Outside of these dates, we should remember that we can always thank and welcome home Vietnam veterans any time of the year.”

While in-person events are challenging to stage safely, the VA invites well-wishers to reach out to Vietnam veterans who live in remote areas, are physically unable to attend commemorative events or are living in nursing homes with a thank-you card, call or Zoom conference.

Honor Flight organizations are working with VSOs to create Honor Parade routes in many communities. These outdoor events pass by veterans’ homes at a safe distance to protect them from the spread of the coronavirus. Vietnam Memorial walls will also appear in many locations — many of them supported by VVA chapters nationwide. Here’s a short list of commemorative events.

Hundreds of observances will take place, and the VA urges participants to celebrate and honor veterans safely. Many events get some funding from your generous donations of lightly used clothing and household goods to ClothingDonations.org.

So clean out a closet and #donate; call, text or write a veteran; or take part in a safe, socially distanced event to thank a Vietnam veteran for their service. They will appreciate the consideration on National Vietnam War Veterans Day — or any day of the year.

What Your Donations Do for Veterans

If you’ve donated clothing and other household items to ClothingDonations.org in the past, you may be aware that your stuff helps fund programs that support veterans throughout the country. But do you know how, and what your donations fund?

When you give the things you no longer need, the Vietnam Veterans Association (VVA) resells them in bulk to partner thrift and secondhand stores, where other people can shop for great deals on lightly used stuff.

VVA takes the proceeds and uses them to underwrite range of programs. On the national level, the association helps veterans tap government benefits and health care guaranteed to those who have served, and lobbies on behalf of veterans in the nation’s capital.

Aware that war can have challenging health effects for decades after a deployment, VVA offers outreach programs to veterans suffering from Agent Orange exposure, homelessness, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse.

It offers programs targeted to POW/MIAs and their families, minority veterans, women veterans, and justice-involved and jailed veterans. In other words, it is a comprehensive, wraparound service organization operated by and dedicated to Vietnam veterans.

As Vietnam veterans have aged and the country has continued to engage in overseas conflicts, VVA has expanded its mission to welcome veterans of all U.S. conflicts. “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another” is its motto.

VVA programs are supplemented and supported at the local level by the organization’s more than 500 chapters nationwide. The chapters use some of the money raised through ClothingDonations.org to host educational and social events, honor veterans, and give back to their communities through parades, scholarships and sponsorships.

Last month, for example, dozens of VVA chapters celebrated National Vietnam War Veterans Day on March 29, hosting luncheons, memorial observances and educational programs around the country to thank veterans living and dead for their service.

While donations to ClothingDonations.org don’t pay for the entirety of the programs VVA offers, the money raised eases the organization’s fundraising burden while providing you — the loyal readers of the Organizing Blog — with an easy, earth-friendly way to get rid of your unwanted stuff.

The nation’s veterans appreciate every donation, and thank you for your support!