Celebrating National Vietnam War Veterans Day

Next Tuesday, March 29, is National Vietnam War Veterans Day. Why March 29? Because on March 29, 1973, Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) was disbanded and the last U.S. combat troops departed the Republic of Vietnam.

Vietnam veterans first got their own holiday the following year — even before the fall of Saigon in 1975 — thanks to President Richard Nixon, who declared March 29 Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day. But not until 2012 did the push for a national observance get underway.

That year, President Obama issued a proclamation calling upon all Americans to observe March 29 as Vietnam Veterans Day with programs, ceremonies and other activities that commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

“One of the most painful chapters in our history was Vietnam — particularly how we treated our troops who served there,” President Obama said in his remarks. “You were often blamed for a war you didn’t start, when you should have been commended for serving your country with valor.”

In 2017, National Vietnam War Veterans Day was established as an official observance. Now in its fifth year, National Vietnam War Veterans Day is the occasion for hundreds of celebrations and events nationwide — all held to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice.

More than 3.2 million people served between Nov. 1, 1955 and May 15, 1975. But those numbers are dwindling: More than 500 Vietnam veterans pass every day, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. So the time to thank them is now.

Take some time out in the next couple weeks to observe National Vietnam War Veterans Day by visiting a veterans memorial or attending a commemorative event; thanking a Vietnam veteran personally with a call, card or visit; or volunteering your time with a veterans organization.

You can also donate your used clothing and household goods to ClothingDoanations.org year-round to fund programs that help honor those who served by staging commemorative events and offering direct assistance when needed. The nation’s veterans thank you for your support!

Be Thankful, Get Organized

The holidays are rapidly approaching. And while you may have thought you’d have “everything” done ahead of time, the stark reality is that a few things may have escaped your attention until now.

It’s rare for a person to have every single thing completed by the internal deadlines they themselves have created. Be #thankful if you were able to get the jump on a couple of things on your to-do list already.

As for the responsibilities that loom in the weeks ahead, now’s a fine time to get started. You have nine days left to prepare for #Thanksgiving — more than enough time to plan a lavish celebration.

Start by planning the feast itself, Me in Order says. List everything you plan to make and anything that you’ll ask guests to bring or buy ready-made. Then, go and buy the the ingredients while the stores still have them.

Early rumors of supply chain shortages of turkeys and other Thanksgiving staples appear to have been overblown. But even if something is missing from your list, you still have time to get creative and suffuse your feast with decadent seasonal alternatives.

You may also wish to do a quick kitchen #cleanup and #decluttering to #streamline next week’s heavy usage. Locate the specialized tools you’ll need (such as that potato-masher) and keep them within easy reach.

The table and home are another question. If you’re the host, you may wish to do a day’s worth of cleaning and decorating. If you happen to find items that you no longer need or want as you #organize, you can #donate them to ClothingDonations.org.

#Donating lightly used clothing and household items to ClothingDonations.org is one of the easiest ways to #givethanks to #veterans, since the proceeds from the resale of those goods go directly toward veteran health care, housing and other support programs.

This year, be #thankful for the bounty that you do have and the ability to again gather in person relatively risk-free. Share that bounty with your family, friends and fellows throughout the holiday season.

Veterans Day: Local, Live and Virtual

Armistice Day was created to recognize the end of World War I in “the 11th hour of the 11th Day of the 11th month.” Rechristened Veterans Day in 1954, Nov. 11 recognizes the dedication and sacrifice of all who serve in the U.S. military. Observances often include parades, memorials, speeches and other events, but if COVID-19 has disrupted local plans, you can always livestream the VA’s National Veterans Day Observance on Nov. 11 at Arlington National Cemetery, which starts at starting at 11 a.m. EST with the laying of a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns.

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.

More Ways to Help Veterans Ahead of the Holidays

If you didn’t get the chance to celebrate Veterans Day before the weekend, now is a great time to visit a nearby veterans cemetery to put flowers, a wreath or a miniature flag on a grave — or help volunteer to tend to some of the graves before winter sets in. You can also adopt a veteran family for the holidays or make a donation to the Vietnam Veterans of America and ClothingDonations.org to help veterans in need during the holidays. They will appreciate your thoughts any time of year.