pow/mia day

National Vietnam War Veterans Day

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National Vietnam War Veterans Day Image One

I’ve posted for Veterans Day on November 11 and POW/MIA Recognition Day, the third Friday in September. Today is the national acknowledgement of the final pull-out of US troops in South Vietnam, ending our direct involvement.

From National Day Calendar:

[…] Veterans of this time period are gaining the respect that was not so freely given upon their return. Involving five U.S. presidents, crossing nearly two decades and 500,000 U.S.military personnel, it left an indelible mark on the American psyche. Returning Veterans did not always receive respectful welcomes upon their arrive on American soil. There were 58,000 killed, never to return. National Vietnam War Veterans Day recognizes the military service of these men and women who answered the call to service their country when she needed them. They didn’t make the decisions to go to war.

U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., introduced legislation in 2017 to honor Vietnam Veterans with a day on the anniversary of the withdrawal of military units from South Vietnam. President Donald Trump signed the Vietnam War Veterans Day Act on March 28, 2017, calling for U.S. flags to be flown on March 29 for those who served.

National Vietnam War Veterans Day Image Two
Photo Credit: history.com

From The History Channel:

[…] in January 1973, representatives of the United States, North and South Vietnam and, the Vietcong signed a peace agreement in Paris, ending the direct U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War. Its key provisions included a cease-fire throughout Vietnam, the withdrawal of U.S. forces, the release of prisoners of war and, the reunification of North and South Vietnam through peaceful means. The South Vietnamese government was to remain in place until new elections were held and North Vietnamese forces in the South were not to advance further nor be reinforced.

Two months after the signing of the Vietnam peace agreement, the last U.S. combat troops [left] South Vietnam as Hanoi [freed] the remaining American prisoners of war held in North Vietnam. In Saigon, some 7,000 U.S. Department of Defense civilian employees remained behind to aid South Vietnam in conducting what looked to be a fierce and ongoing war with communist North Vietnam. […] before the last American troops departed on March 29, the communists violated the cease-fire and, by early 1974, full-scale war had resumed. At the end of 1974, South Vietnamese authorities reported that 80,000 of their soldiers and civilians had been killed in fighting during the year […].

On April 30, 1975, the last few Americans still in South Vietnam were airlifted out of the country as Saigon fell to communist forces.

Addendum
I live with a Vietnam Seabee Veteran. He was in-country at Camp Haskins, Red Beach, Da Nang harbor during Khe Sanh, Tet and the Battle of Hue. Thankfully, he was not directly affected but, he was nearly blown out of a guard tower when the USMC Da Nang Air Base was attacked in January 1968. He keeps a wad of shrapnel and an empty grenade in the office as a reminder of what nearly got him. He’s told me stories of returning home and being flipped off by civilians. He was never spit on, like some stories I’ve heard but, he certainly wasn’t welcomed back. ~Vic

National POW/MIA Recognition Day

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POW/MIA Image
Image Credit: nationaldaycalendar.com

September 21 has two celebrations, two ‘third Friday in September’ celebrations and a brand new celebration. Today, I showcase one of the ‘third Friday in September’ days…National POW/MIA Recognition Day. Though National Day Calendar states that this day has been observed since 1989 by Presidential Proclamation, according to www.pow-miafamilies.org:

Until July 18, 1979, no special commemoration was held to honor America’s POW/MIAs, those returned and, those still missing and unaccounted for from our nation’s wars. That first year, resolutions were passed in Congress and the national ceremony was held at the National Cathedral, Washington, DC.

National POW/MIA Recognition Day legislation was introduced yearly until 1995 when Congress opted to discontinue considering legislation to designate special commemorative days. Since then, successive Presidents have signed an annual proclamation.

www.timeanddate.com adds some additional data to the history:

The United States Congress passed a resolution authorizing National POW/MIA Recognition Day to be observed on July 18, 1979. It was observed on the same date in 1980 and, was held on July 17 in 1981 and 1982. It was then observed on April 9 in 1983 and July 20 in 1984. The event was observed on July 19 in 1985 and, then, from 1986 on-wards, the date moved to the third Friday of September. The United States president each year proclaims National POW/MIA Recognition Day. Many states in the USA also proclaim POW/MIA Recognition Day together with the national effort.

The passage of Section 1082 in the 1998 Defense Authorization Act covers the display of the POW/MIA flag.

There is, also, still a National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day, permanent to April 9 in any year.

Also celebrated today:
National New York Day
National Pecan Cookie Day (Yum! People love to celebrate food!)
National Tradesmen Day (Also on the third Friday in September)
National Chai Day (Founded by Somrus and proclaimed by The Registrar at National Day Calender, today!)

Cheers and enjoy!