As a Veteran, growing up in a family of male and female Veterans, dating back to World War II, the Vietnam War, Operation Just Cause, the Gulf War, the Iraq War, to now Operation Enduring Freedom, to name a few, I have witnessed first-hand what can be the tragic effects on those who served and those who supported them on the Home Front. Without a doubt our Vietnam War Veterans returned home to a hostile environment that isolated them, their pain, and the care they needed for far too long. In my journey to pay it forward, by in part becoming a VA employee, I have been privileged to be a part of a continually evolving and nationally recognized healthcare provider and research organization.
VA is proudly partnering with the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration Committee and Department of Defense (DoD) in honoring a grateful nation by thanking Vietnam Veterans and families for their service, valor and sacrifice.
In accordance with Public Law 110-181SEC.598, Congress authorized the Secretary of Defense to conduct a program to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. On May 25, 2012, the president proclaimed that May 28, 2012 through November 11, 2025 as the “Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War.”
The commemoration committee is accomplishing this charge by recruiting commemorative partners throughout America. Their charge: “To thank and honor Veterans of the Vietnam War, To highlight the service of the Armed Forces during the Vietnam War, To pay tribute to the contributions made on the home front by the people of the United States during the Vietnam War, To highlight the advances in technology, science, and medicine related to military research conducted during the Vietnam War, and To recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by the allies of the United States during the Vietnam War”.
I am honored as a VA employee to be part of and witness to what can be accomplished when working on a united team of professionals, and in this case from VA, to DoD, to the National Park Service, to the Military District of Washington, 3rd Infantry Regiment and the United States of Americas Vietnam War Commemoration Committee.
This partnership, along with the VA’s unique connection to the Veteran Community, will kick-off March 29 with dignified events across the country and a Wreath Laying Commemoration Ceremony at the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C. Check with your local VA facility to see when they are hosting their Vietnam 50th commemoration event.
It costs nothing to become a commemorative partner and to date there are currently more than 5,200 partners throughout America. VA has joined a grateful nation striving to honor and respect our Vietnam Veterans and their families. Please join this effort by attending any one of the hundreds of events across the country and thank a Vietnam Veteran for their service.
About the author: Sherri Stephan has been an employee with the VA for 15 years and is currently in the Veterans Affairs Learning University (VALU) Executive Potential Program serving on detail with the National Veterans Outreach Office in Washington. She is a former U.S. Army Soldier and mother of two young men, one is a Veteran and the other is currently serving with the Ohio National Guard.