VA Palo Alto Honors Vietnam Vets - VA Palo Alto Health Care System
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VA Palo Alto Health Care System

 

VA Palo Alto Honors Vietnam Vets

VAPAHCS Director Tony Fitzgerald shakes hands with a Vietnam Veteran

VAPAHCS Director Tony Fitzgerald shakes hands with a Vietnam Veteran

By Michael Hill-Jackson
Friday, March 29, 2019

In recognition of National Vietnam War Veterans Day (March 29), VA Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS) Director Thomas J. Fitzgerald III and his executive team honored Vietnam Veterans with visits to inpatient Vietnam Veterans on both Thursday and Friday. Leadership handed out ceremonial coins to Veterans, and Veterans Canteen Service kicked of the two-day recognition of events with a cake ceremony in the Patriot Café.

As authorized by Congress and on behalf of the nation, the Department of Veterans Affairs partners with the Department of Defense (DoD) to do what officials say should have been done 50 years ago: thank and honor our Vietnam Veterans and their families just as America did for the Veterans of World War II and Korea.

The 50th Anniversary of the Commemoration campaign will run for ten years (2015-2025) to reflect the years of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, which occurred from 1965 to 1975. To establish permanent recognition for Vietnam Veterans, President Trump designated March 29th as Vietnam Veterans Day in 2017.

Each year on this day, more than 10,000 Commemorative Partners around the country are enlisted to thank and honor the 7.2 million living Vietnam Veterans and families of all 9 million who served.

Our Veterans’ bravery and individual sacrifices have safeguarded the cherished concepts embodied in our Constitution. Whether deployed in harm’s way, all the while watching over their buddies, or training and serving at home station, our Vietnam Veterans sacrificed and died during the call of duty…. for our country, our State, our community, our families, and our children.

We honor our Vietnam Veterans - on this day and beyond.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are a few facts about the 50th Anniversary of the Commemoration of the Vietnam War and how you can help!

Q1: How many Vietnam Veterans are living today?
VA reports approximately 7 million; estimated 400 Vietnam Veterans pass every day.

Q2: Since the nation has just moved on from this trying period in our history, why is the Government intent on trying to fix the past?
The Commemoration’s primary mission, as authorized by Congress, is to thank and honor our Vietnam Veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the nation. By any standard, this is a noble endeavor for all the right reasons. We will leave discussions and debates over the political or social controversies that occurred 50 years ago to others.

Q3: So only those who actually served in Vietnam will be acknowledged?
The Commemoration honors all Vietnam Veterans. We make no distinction between Veterans who served in-country, in-theater, or who were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period. All were called to serve, and the overwhelming majority of these Veterans served honorably and admirably.

Q4: The Veterans Administration, as it was named back in this period, was considered ill-prepared to deal with returning Vietnam Veterans. Some would even consider the VA during this period disgraceful. Why is VA trying to correct this terrible legacy?
We are not concerned about political and social debates of the era. Our objective is to thank and honor these Veterans and their families. We will also use the opportunity to showcase our employees who serve every day caring for our Veterans. We will also want to showcase VA research, medical advancements, healthcare and delivery of benefits and services available to Vietnam era Veterans – and all Veterans.

Q5: Will VA and DoD conduct similar campaigns for all our Nations Veterans such as Korea and the Gulf War?
There have been commemoration events for the Korean War and World War II Veterans. The significance about the Vietnam 50th Anniversary is that our Vietnam Veterans were never welcomed home and honored like previous wars. This anniversary permits us to thank and honor them in the same tradition.

Q6: What period of Veteran service is VA targeting? And does the Commemoration only recognize those Veterans who actually deployed to Vietnam?
The Commemoration recognizes all who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces from November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of duty location. The Commemoration honors all Vietnam Veterans. We make no distinction between Veterans who served in-country, in-theater, or who were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period. All were called to serve and the overwhelming majority of these Veterans served honorably and admirably.

Q7: In general, how has the VA assisted Vietnam era Veterans, especially with Agent Orange?
VA has and continues to ensure all generations of Veterans and their families are aware of VA benefits and services and how to apply for them. Since the Vietnam war ended in 1975, VA has made huge strides in medical research, technology, and delivery of health care services. VA benefits, such as the GI Bill, home loan guaranty, insurance and vocational rehabilitation were fully extended to this era of Veterans. In addition, families have and will continue to be eligible for memorial benefits. VA has recognized certain cancers and other health problems as presumptive diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service. Veterans and their survivors may be eligible for benefits for these diseases. – Find out more on VA’s Agent Orange website.

Q8: What about assisting Vietnam Veterans who are homeless?
Community by community, VA and its partners are making tremendous progress in ending homelessness among Veterans, including Vietnam Veterans. Since 2010, nearly 230,000 Veterans and their family members have been permanently housed, rapidly rehoused, or prevented from becoming homeless by HUD’s targeted housing vouchers and VA’s homelessness programs. Please contact the DoD Vietnam Commemoration Office for information on how to send lapel pins to homebound Veterans through the mail.

Q9: Is there a lapel pin or a certificate that can be provided to spouses or family members of the deceased or fallen Vietnam Veterans?
Yes. VA commemorative partner organizations may access the commemorative partner portal to download certificates of honor for surviving spouses of deceased Vietnam Veterans who served on active duty between November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975. Instructions on what type and color of paper to use is on the website at www.vietnamwar50th.com.

Q10: How can the public support or participate in local events to honor Vietnam Veterans?
DoD has established a Commemoration website. There are more than 8,000 local, state, and federal organizations who have become a Commemorative Partner. News and events will be posted in local media and online.

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