Vietnam Peace Day

It has been nearly 60 years since members of our armed forces fought on behalf of the South Vietnamese people.

Today, we have the opportunity to not only pause and reflect, but to remember and honor the memory of the more than 58,000 men and women who gave so much — paying the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.

We also use this occasion to honor and remember the more than 3.4 million military personnel who served in the republic of South Vietnam or elsewhere in Southeast Asia in support of the U.S. military operations in Vietnam.

Because of the brave and selfless actions of Vietnam veterans, the flame of freedom burns brighter today throughout the world. The tradition of service demonstrated by those who served during the Vietnam War provides lasting testimony to the indomitable and tenacious spirit that resides in the hearts of our Vietnam veterans.

Vietnam veterans are everyday people made extraordinary by events beyond their control. They did their duty not out of bravado or boldness, but out of a sense of duty, and because they had a deep and abiding love for their country.

Quite simply, they believed in the promise of the American dream and the essential goodness of America. Vietnam veterans fought to preserve democracy and freedom, not just here in America, but for all freedom-loving people around the world.

The freedom and prosperity we enjoy today is in large part guaranteed by all of those who served so honorably in Vietnam. We, as Americans, are forever thankful to all of them for their unselfish devotion and for their courageous willingness to put their lives at risk.

We honor them because we appreciate what they have given us. Without their contributions the world would be a very different place … a darker place. Our Vietnam veterans performed the highest form of public service. When it all came down to it, they stood strong, and when it was needed, they answered the challenge.

It’s time for the nation to give our Vietnam veterans their due, and thank them for their noble efforts and achievements. Vietnam veterans are worthy of every praise, monument and memorial we could offer. But the best way to honor them is to ensure that every new generation of veterans is appreciated and receives the dignity, respect and welcome home they have earned. Making sure every veteran receives the benefits and entitlements they deserve is one way of maintaining a link to the thousands of men and women who helped secure so many blessings for us.

Let us pause to honor those who’ve selflessly sacrificed to protect and defend our freedom by recommitting ourselves to our families, to our communities and to our country.

Though long overdue, today America recognizes each and every Vietnam veteran.

Thank you for your service, and welcome home.

– Scott Galliardt, MS, RN, Area Administrator