Ceremony will honor veterans' service

To thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War for their service and sacrifice, the Williamsburg Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America (#957) will conduct a ceremony on National Vietnam War Veterans Day at 11 a.m. March 29 to commemorate and recognize all Vietnam War Veterans from the area.

The ceremony will be presided over by Vietnam veteran and Retired Air Force Pilot Jim Icenhour, Chairman of the James City County Board of Supervisors. He will read the “Certificate of Recognition” prepared by the State of Virginia, and will present 50-Year Vietnam War Commemorative pins to all Vietnam veterans in attendance. The ceremony will be held at the Vietnam Memorial Monument located in Veterans Park/Kids Park on Ironbound Road at its juncture with Monticello Avenue.

The United States Congress passed The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act on March 28, 2017, designating every March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. This date was chosen to be commemorated in perpetuity as March 29, 1973, was the day Military Assistance Command Vietnam was deactivated.

The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration honors all United States veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces from Nov. 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975, regardless of location. Officially, 58,175 Americans lost their lives serving in Vietnam.

Those returning home from Vietnam were at best ignored, otherwise subjected to verbal and physical harassment. Most quietly assimilated into society, keeping their experience within themselves and unwilling to share with those who did not serve. Some have since succumbed to service-related illnesses or PTSD. By some estimates, of the approximately 3 million individuals who served in Vietnam, about 2.3 million are still alive.

The chapter invites all Vietnam veterans to participate; and the community to join in a belated, well deserved “welcome home.”

Art Garrison

Williamsburg

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