Q:

When is Vietnam Veterans' Day and what is the story behind it?

A:

Quick Answer

The majority of states recognize March 29 or 30 as "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day." In order to commemorate the sacrifices of Vietnam veterans, this day is part of a national effort to recognize the veterans who didn't receive a proper welcome when they returned home from the Vietnam War.

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Full Answer

On January 12, 1962, U.S. Army pilots carried over 1,000 South Vietnamese service members through the jungle and underbrush of Vietnam to capture a National Liberation Front stronghold near Saigon. This marked the beginning of an extensive and difficult war.

By signing Proclamation 4270, Richard Nixon was the first president to call for Americans to recognize March 29 as a national holiday. In doing so, he asked the nation to commemorate March 29, 1974 with appropriate observances.

Fifty years after the war began, President Barack Obama wanted to recognize the military service of the more than 3 million Americans who participated in the Vietnam War. He proclaimed March 29, 2012 as Vietnam Veterans Day, and requested that all Americans recognize the day with relevant programs, ceremonies and activities to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the Vietnam War.

On March 29 or 30 of each year, Americans recognize the final withdrawal from the Vietnam War, an event that saw over 58,000 U.S. military members lose their lives and 153,000 become wounded.

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