~ Service of Virginia’s Vietnam veterans honored during special ceremony ~
RICHMOND—Today, Governor Ralph Northam paid tribute to Virginia’s Vietnam War veterans at a special ceremony held at the Sitter & Barfoot Veterans Care Center in Richmond, Virginia. The ceremony was hosted by the Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS), which operates the care center, and coincides with National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 permanently designates that every year March 29 will be celebrated as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. Governor Northam issued a proclamation designating March 29 as Vietnam War Veterans Day in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It was on March 29, 1973, when combat and combat support units withdrew from South Vietnam.
“On this day, Virginians join Americans across the nation to celebrate and honor our Vietnam War veterans, who stepped up and answered the call to serve,” said Governor Northam. “As a proud veteran myself, I am grateful for the service and sacrifice of these brave men and women, and for their continuing contributions to this country and this Commonwealth.”
At today’s ceremony, Governor Northam awarded an official Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin to 88 Sitter & Barfoot residents. Distinguished guests included Virginia Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Carlos Hopkins; Brigadier General Jeffrey Ryan, Air Component Commander, Virginia National Guard; Commissioner Ellen Marie Hess of the Virginia Employment Commission; and Mr. J. Ronald Johnson, Director of the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center.
“Today, and every day, our Vietnam veterans should receive the recognition they earned and deserve,” said Secretary Carlos Hopkins.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 9 million Americans served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces during the period of the Vietnam War. Today there are 6.4 million living Vietnam veterans. Virginia is home to 720,000 veterans, approximately 200,000 of whom served during the Vietnam War era.
At the national level, efforts to honor and thank Vietnam Veterans are led by The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration. The Commemoration is a program of the Department of Defense whose mission is to honor all United States veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces from November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of location. Government agencies, veterans’ organizations, and community groups serve as Commemorative Partners, conducting events such as the Sitter & Barfoot ceremony to recognize the service, valor, and sacrifice of Vietnam veterans and their families.
“The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration called on Commemorative Partners to place a special focus this year, and especially today on National Vietnam War Veterans Day, on reaching Vietnam veterans in senior care facilities. Today’s ceremony is part of Virginia’s ongoing efforts to recognize our Vietnam veterans,” said DVS Commissioner John Newby. “The Virginia Department of Veterans Services, the Virginia National Guard, the Virginia Employment Commission, and the McGuire VA Medical Center are proud to be official Commemorative Partners of the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, and we are honored to have this opportunity to pay tribute to our Vietnam veterans.”