Friday, March 27, 2015

Welcome Home Vietnam Veteran's Day March 30th

This weekend is Vietnam Veteran's Day.  In 2011 the Senate unanimously passed a resolution recognizing all Vietnam Vets.  March 30 is the official day.

As some of you will remember their welcome home from the war was very different for the welcome soldiers receive now.  Today, with much thanks to many of these veterans, their home comings are respectful.  The Vets of the 60's and early 70's wanted to make sure what happened to them would not happen to future men and women who bravely serve their country.

I found this wonderful article on the Paralyzed Veterans of America's web page.  I wanted to share it with you.

Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day Designated by Senate for March 30

Three veterans in wheelchairs on Veterans DayIn 1969, after a year of service to the U.S. Navy in Vietnam, Doug Vollmer returned home to a country that failed to differentiate between the war and the troops who served.
“We just weren’t welcomed home,” said Vollmer,Paralyzed Veterans of America's Retired Associate Executive Director for Government Relations.
But in 2011 the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution to provide these veterans with the chance at a proper welcome. Recognizing the final withdrawal date of all combat and combat-support troops from Vietnam, March 30 honors these veterans by its designation as “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.”
Senator Richard Burr, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, introduced the resolution, calling it “a day to give our Vietnam veterans a warm, long-overdue welcome home.”
Indeed, many homecoming veterans were scorned, insulted and even spat on by vociferous anti-war activists.
“You don’t see that kind of rhetoric about veterans returning from today’s wars,” Paralyzed Veterans’ Retired Associate Director of Health Policy Fred Cowell said.
After two tours stationed in Vietnam and the Philippines as a naval petty-officer, Cowell had trouble adjusting to civilian life after nearly three years abroad.  Attending college on the GI Bill, Cowell experienced the anti-war movement first-hand.
“There was a time when we were trying to sort out the value of the war and the position of many college students at the time,” Cowell said, speaking of a group of veterans who congregated on campus.
For many veterans, the construction and unveiling of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall was the most significant milestone in recognizing their service.
Cowell spoke of the anger and frustration that veterans experienced during the tumultuous period as they returned home faced with a lack of appreciation for their service.
“I am so thankful that today’s military veterans aren’t returning with that anguish,” Cowell said. He called the resolution to welcome home Vietnam veterans an “extended hand.”
“As a Vietnam veteran, it’s nice to finally feel appreciated,” he said.
Today, while opposition to the conflicts and continued American troop presence in Afghanistan and Iraq is fierce, support and respect for returning soldiers is widespread. While today soldiers often travel in uniform—a uniform that, today, elicits high esteem from the public—Vietnam veterans often trekked in plain clothes to avoid name calling and the like.
Vollmer credits Vietnam vets as a driving force behind the respect afforded to today’s veterans.  “Our generation wasn’t going to allow what happened to us happen to them,” Vollmer said.
Paralyzed Veterans of America urges all citizens and communities to honor Vietnam veterans on this date, and to remember and honor the service of all veterans throughout the year.