There are a lot of minor holidays in America, days we don’t get the day off, but days where we celebrate important things such as Arbor Day,” “National Teachers Day,” or “National Doctors Day.”
But, forgotten like the soldiers it represents, there is likely one day most of us missed: National Vietnam War Veterans Day, March 29, 2019.
While visiting a website that lists the major days the United States celebrates each year, in addition to all the federally recognized holidays, the list featured “important” days such as “Samuel F. Morse’s birthday (inventor of the telegraph and Morse code), composer “Irving Berlin’s birthday,” Tarzan author “Edgar Rice Burroughs” birthday and even “Stepfamily Day.”
There were also the typical military holidays such as national freedom day, Armed Forces Day, National Maritime Day, Memorial Day, D-Day 1944, Flag Day, Independence Day, National Aviation Day, Patriot Day, Veterans Day, and Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Absolutely all worth taking note of.
However, there was one glaring omission: “National Vietnam War Veterans Day.”
Our Vietnam veterans got a raw deal unlike any other group of American veterans. Due to the divisiveness and opposition the public had to the war itself, many Americans unfairly transferred their displeasure to the soldiers. Most of these men were drafted, not volunteers, but they served their country like all soldiers before them and afterward.
They also sacrificed their blood, body parts and lives like all American soldiers.
The soldiers who fought in Vietnam did not come home to cheers and parades like soldiers before them. Just as these Vietnam veterans were largely forgotten as they returned home from the Asian war, so too, goes unnoticed the National Day that honors these brave soldiers.
It’s been five decades since the Vietnam War. We have learned much about why it was fought, but also have had fifty years to understand the lack of respect the soldiers received. And unfortunately, that lack of respect continues, as this holiday meant to finally bring them honor – is overlooked by the majority of the American public.
Let us give thanks to those who served, as well as, those who fought and died in this war, whose names are on the black granite face of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. Let’s also remember the non-military support, medical workers and nurses who cared for the soldiers, many of whose names are also on the memorial wall.