Vietnam Veterans Day is annually observed on March 29. It commemorates the hardships suffered and sacrifices made by nine million Americans during the Vietnam War. However, the holiday does not only honor the former soldiers but also their families who supported them before and after the war.
History of Vietnam Veterans Day
The Vietnam War was a lengthy and costly conflict between Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. It occurred from November 1, 1955, to April 30, 1975 — a total of 19 years before the fall of Saigon. As Vietnam’s principal ally, the participation of the U.S. significantly determined the fate of the war. In 1961, former U.S. President John F. Kennedy sent a team to Vietnam to report their conditions. It was found that there was an American buildup of economic, military, and technical aid to Ngo Dinh Diem to defeat the Viet Cong. Due to the “domino theory,” which suggests that if one Southeast Asian country falls, the others will follow, Kennedy increased the American aid in Vietnam. By 1962, the U.S. military presence in the country reached up to 9,000 troops.
By March 1965, U.S. aid continued in Vietnam with the support of Lyndon Johnson, Kennedy’s successor. By June of the same year, American troops reached 82,000. A month later, 100,000 more troops were delegated, and 100,000 more a year later. By November 1967, the number of U.S. troops reached 500,000: however, 15,058 were killed, and 109,527 were wounded.
On November 5, 1969, there was a massive anti-war movement in Washington. More than 250,000 Americans participated, calling for the withdrawal of military troops from Vietnam. On March 29, 1973, U.S. President Richard Nixon officially withdrew the American combat forces from Vietnam. A year later, the first Vietnam Veterans Day was held.
Vietnam Veterans Day timeline
The Vietnam War between Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam commences on November 1.
The American military presence in Vietnam reaches 9,000 after Kennedy increases U.S. aid.
Citizens protest in Washington on November 5 for the government to withdraw U.S. forces from the Vietnam War.
Nixon pulls out the U.S. troops from Vietnam on March 29.
Vietnam Veterans Day FAQs
Why did the U.S. enter the Vietnam War?
The U.S. forces participated in the Vietnam War to abort the spread of communism.
Who won in Vietnam War?
The communists prevailed in the Vietnam War.
Why did America fail in the Vietnam War?
The U.S. failed due to brutal tactics and poor military intelligence.
How to Observe Vietnam Veterans Day
Visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
One of the most popular places to visit during Vietnam Veterans Day is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. It’s an iconic place where people pay respect to the fallen soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the grueling 19-year war in Vietnam.
Support war veterans’ mental health groups
Veterans suffered from post-war P.T.S.D. and depression. By donating to war veterans’ mental health groups, you’re helping soldiers get information, treatment, and therapy for all war-related mental illnesses they have developed.
Donate to Paralyzed Veterans of America
You can also show your support by donating to the Paralyzed Veterans of America organization. It aims to help war veterans who endured physical distress and paralysis. You can help them through these programs to make their lives more comfortable.
5 Facts About Vietnam Veterans Day
Thousands of unsung heroes
Most of the veterans who came home did not receive any forms of recognition for their service.
It’s a nationwide event
A total of 45 out of 51 American states and territories observe Vietnam Veterans Day.
It was signed into law in 2017
Former U.S. President Donald Trump formally signed the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 as a law designated for the celebration of National Vietnam Veterans Day on March 29 every year.
It’s celebrated in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico also celebrates Vietnam Veterans Day.
It’s a day for all military sectors
The holiday is dedicated to the military sectors who participated in the war regardless of role and location, from Coast Guards, Marine Corps, Air Force, Army, and Navy.
Why Vietnam Veterans Day is Important
It recognizes Vietnam veterans
Vietnam veterans have been unsung for too long — it’s time for them to be recognized. A holiday dedicated to their sacrifices may not fully heal the trauma, stress, and hardships they endured, but it immortalizes the honor they brought that will be carried on from generation to generation.
It highlights the courage of the veterans
The bravery it took for Vietnam veterans to put their lives on the line is unprecedented. We highlight their courage and patriotism by celebrating their sacrifices on Vietnam Veterans Day. It’s a simple way of showing that we’ve never forgotten about their sacrifices.
It advocates for mental health
Vietnam Veterans Day allows us to advocate for mental health awareness, especially for those who suffer from war P.T.S.D. By supporting veterans on the holiday, we can ensure that any soldier who went through a mental ordeal is supported.
Vietnam Veterans Day dates