Vietnam Veterans Day commemorates the sacrifices of Vietnam veterans and their families and is part of a national effort to recognize the men and women who were denied a proper welcome upon returning home more than 40 years ago.
The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act, which was signed into law in 2017, designates March 29 of each year as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. It is not an official holiday. Most states celebrate “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day” on March 29 or 30 of each year. Though there is some debate, March 29 is generally viewed as a more appropriate date. On that day in 1973, the last combat troops were withdrawn from Vietnam and the last prisoners of war held in North Vietnam arrived on American soil.
Lasting from 1955 to 1975, the Vietnam war engulfed the Southeast Asian country of Vietnam, as well as its neighboring countries, Cambodia and Laos. It resulted in several million deaths, most of whom were Vietnamese civilians. The conflict began during the 1950s when the struggle between the country’s communist northern part and the anti-communist south escalated. The United States began its military involvement to back the South’s effort to quell the communist onslaught, which, at the height of the Cold War, was feared to promote the spread of communist ideology and influence worldwide. During the war, about 500,000 US troops were dispatched to Southeast Asia, about 58,000 of whom were killed. The conflict ended in 1975 with the fall of Saigon and the victory of North Vietnam.
More than 350 members of American Legion Post 178 are Vietnam veterans.