National Vietnam War Veterans Day

Next Friday, 29 March 2024

National Vietnam War Veterans Day is a national observance, commemorated every year on March 29.

It is a day to honor the military who served in the Vietnam War, many of whom didn't receive a proper welcome home.
It is not a federal holiday, and businesses and schools are open as normal.

Vietnam memorial in Washington DC
Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC

History of National Vietnam War Veterans Day

This day has been independently celebrated in a few states since 1973, on either March 29 or 30. 

Initially, it was first observed as a one-time event by President Obama's proclamation, on the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War on March 29, 2012.

The day chosen to celebrate National Vietnam War Veterans Day is March 29. This is because it is the same day when the last American Prisoners of War made a safe return to the US and when the American troops withdrew from the battle in 1973. 

In 2016, the Vietnam Veterans Day Coalition of States Council petitioned President Trump to establish March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

President Trump signed the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017, officially marking March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day on March 20, 2017

He also announced that the US flag should be specially flown on this day.

The Vietnam War: A Complete Timeline

It was in the latter half of the 19th century that Vietnam fell prey to French Colonialism. They called it the French Indochina or the French IndoChinese Union. 

By 1940, most of the territories in France was being occupied by Germany and this loosened their grip on Vietnam. Taking advantage of this opportunity, Japan began to advance in Vietnam. 

In 1941, Ho Chi Minh started a National organization for the independence of Vietnam from Japanese and French forces. This was called Viet Minh or Vietnam Doc Lap Dong Minh Hoi (the League for the Independence of Vietnam). 

In the August of 1945, the Japanese forces withdrew from Vietnam and the Viet Minh established the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV). 

It is said that the most divisive conflict that the United States was part of ever was the Vietnam War. 

In the 1960s, the American military joined the conflict, backing up South Vietnam forces, against the troops of communist North Vietnam. 

Politician Ho Chi Minh created the League for the Independence of Vietnam against the French after World War II. 

An Image Of Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam in 1967.
Image Credits: Charles Bonnay

Emperor Bao Dai took control of Vietnamese rule in 1945 with the assistance of the French. As a response to this, Viet Minh's forces took over the city of Hanoi and declared it a new state of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. 

Bao retaliated and created the State Of Vietnam with Saigon as the capital in 1949. The ultimate goal of both politicians was a United Vietnam. 

Ho wanted a Vietnam under communist rule but Bao wanted a government similar to Western governments. 

Ho's communist troops attacked the South after taking complete control over the North and this ended the French Colonial Rule in Vietnam effectively. 

As they were losing, anti-communist Ngo Dinh Diem replaced Bao in 1955 as president of South Vietnam.

An Image of Ngô ?ình Di?m
Image Source

President Eisenhower vowed to assist South Vietnam in their war against the Viet Cong influenced by the tensions of the Cold War and fearing that more countries would begin to fall under communist rule. 

The American military was sent to Vietnam to train and equip South Vietnamese forces. Eventually, 8 million US troops were deployed to Vietnam, and as the largest presence in the conflict, America dictated the war. 

The Vietnam War was the longest war in American history, with 3 million people dying during it, most of them being Vietnamese civilians.

The US army lost 58,000 troops and this conflict severely divided the country, as many were against the United States interfering in the war.

As such, most veterans returned to America without recognition for their sacrifices, and many had trouble readjusting to normal life. 

How to celebrate National Vietnam War Veterans Day

On March 29 most US cities will have events to commemorate and honor Vietnam War Veterans, such as speeches, ceremonies, and luncheons. 

Many businesses and people fly the American flag outside. It is a day to thank Veterans for their service, and many buy the Veterans' meals and listen to their war stories. 

The biggest ceremony takes place at the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial in Washington DC, where many come to lay wreaths and pay their respect. 

Interesting Facts That You Did Not Know About the Vietnam War

  • When the French colonized Vietnam, they replaced the National School there with a French-run system that catered to about 15 percent of the total population. As a result, the literacy rate which was around 80 percent at the time drastically fell down to 20 percent. 
  • Ho Chi Minh's original name was Nguyen Ai Quoc. 
  • The Vietnam War has many names- 'The American War', 'The War of Liberation', and the 'Anti-US War of National Salvation.'​​​
  • During the Vietnam War, American soldiers used to heat food using C-4 explosives. 
  • The Amerasians were the children of Vietnamese women and American soldiers. These kids were highly discriminated against during this period of intense war. They were called 'bu doi' (Children of Dust). 

National Vietnam War Veterans Day
National Vietnam War Veterans Day

National Vietnam War Veterans Day - Next years

Saturday, 29 March 2025

Sunday, 29 March 2026

Monday, 29 March 2027

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