State honors Vietnam veterans with new holiday

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Governor designates March 29-30 as Vietnam War Veterans Day observance

Staff Report

RICHMOND – This weekend, for the first time in Virginia, veterans of the Vietnam War have their own observance.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Virginia will honor and celebrate the service of these veterans on March 29-30, coinciding with Vietnam War Veterans Day, a new national holiday created with the passage of the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017.

“It’s never too late to say ‘thank you’ to the brave men and women who have stepped up and answered the call to serve,” said Northam in his announcement.

Dozens of civic and veterans service organizations, non-profits and government agencies in Virginia have partnered with the U.S. Department of Defense through the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration’s Commemorative Partner Program. In Virginia, state agency partners include the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, the Virginia Employment Commission and the Virginia National Guard.

In 2010, the Virginia General Assembly unanimously designated March 30 as the annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day in Virginia to celebrate the service and numerous contributions of the Commonwealth’s Vietnam-era veterans, including to business, the arts, medicine, science, technology and public service.

Of Virginia’s 725,000 veterans, over 204,000 served during the Vietnam era, said Carlos Hopkins, Virginia’s secretary of veterans and defense affairs.

A special Vietnam veteran lapel pin has been created as a lasting memento of the nation’s thanks. The pins are often presented at public “pinning ceremonies” hosted by partner organizations. Visit vietnamwar50th.com/events to see a list of upcoming partner events.

Vietnam veterans may also visit the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond to receive a pin from a memorial employee or volunteer. Visit vawarmemorial.org for hours and directions.

“At the Virginia War Memorial, we honor our Vietnam Veterans by passing their stories of service and sacrifice forward to future generations,” said Clay Mountcastle, memorial director.

The memorial is holding a special “Women in Vietnam” event on March 29.

Information about state veterans programs and services is available at dvs.virginia.gov. To learn more about the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, visit vietnamwar50th.com. To learn more about the Virginia War Memorial, visit vawarmemorial.org.