Thursday, 30 May 2024

Vietnam vets honored March 30

LAKE COUNTY – On Monday, be sure to offer a handshake and a thank you to a Vietnam vet.


On March 24, the US House of Representatives approved House Resolution 234, which declares Monday, March 30 as “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.”


Congresswoman Linda Sánchez (D-Lakewood) introduced the legislation on March 3. Sixty-three members of the House of Representatives co-sponsored the bill.


In a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, Sánchez urged her colleagues to support the legislation (see her speech at www.youtube.com/user/LindaTSanchez).


“With this legislation, we can help provide Vietnam veterans the heroes’ welcome they deserve, but that too many never received,” Sánchez said in a written statement. “While today’s resolution may seem like a small gesture-and when compared to what our soldiers and their families sacrificed, it certainly is-it will serve to remind us of their service to our country.”


The March 30 date was chosen because it was on that date in 1973 that the US Armed Forces completed withdrawal of combat troops from Vietnam. The United States became involved in Vietnam in an advisory capacity in 1961 and began sending troops in 1965. More than 58,000 members of the US Armed Forces died in Vietnam, and more than 300,000 were wounded.


Sánchez became involved in the effort in 2003 after meeting Whittier resident Jose Ramos, an Army combat medic in Vietnam who has been advocating for the national recognition. Ramos founded the Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day effort in 2000, according to the Web site www.whvvd.org.


Sánchez introduced the legislation in the 108th, 109th and 110th Congresses.


In 2007, Sen. Barbara Boxer introduced a bill in the Senate supporting the commemoration.


Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day was first commemorated last year, as Lake County News has reported.


Last year, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 951 held sales of commemorative clover sales – orange for Agent Orange victims and black for POW/MIAs – as part of a fundraising and education effort.


This year, however, the group didn't receive notice of the commemoration in time to organize an event, said Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 951 President Dean Gotham.


The commemoration has yet to be made into a national holiday, which is the ultimate goal for veterans.


Last December, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared Dec. 10 through 14 “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Week.” In his proclamation he noted that Dec. 10, 2008, was the date that the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated as a tribute to the 5,822 residents who died in the war.


“Although many years have passed since the war ended, it is never too late to thank our veterans for their outstanding service,” Schwarzenegger said.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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