To the Editor,

Vietnam War Veterans Day, March 29, 2024

On Friday, March 29, 2024, Vietnam War Veterans Day, the Charles D. Center VFW Post 3289, New York Mills, welcomed our Vietnam Veterans home and provided each Vietnam Era Veteran a free dinner at the VFW Post. 

On National Vietnam War Veterans Day, we honor all those who bravely served in the Vietnam War and who sacrificed, as did their families and caregivers.

All military families endure the hardship of separation, uncertainty and fear, but the families of our Vietnam Veterans also witnessed their husbands and wives, sons and daughters, and fathers and mothers returning home to a nation in turmoil. They watched as the vast majority received no formal recognition for their service and weren’t welcomed home in ceremonies hosted by their communities.

When speaking with a Vietnam Veteran, one consistent expression is sadness, not only about the horrors of war, but of the excitement felt to return home only to be very quickly disappointed and heartbroken upon setting foot back onto American soil.  They came back home to hate-filled rhetoric by protesters. Some of them spit at soldiers’ feet, calling them baby killers as they were returning from the war. For many, that hurt has not faded. The effects of war never leaves. Many Vietnam Veterans suffer today from the effects of Agent Orange, cancer, neuropathy, mental illness, or PTSD.

There are 58,307 names that appear on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. The average age of those named at death… 23. Many tens of thousands were disabled. Approximately 7,500 women served in Vietnam.

The number of POW/MIA is 1,627, still considered missing in action and their families await word of their fate.

Please stop by the Post with expressions of thanks and gratitude for the service of our Vietnam Veterans. We pledge to never forget their sacrifice.

The country called and they answered.

Shirley Quist,

New York Mills