Presidential Proclamation -- Vietnam Veterans Day 29 March 2012

"For Immediate Release

March 29, 2012 




On January 12, 1962, United States Army pilots lifted more than 1,000 South Vietnamese service members over jungle and underbrush to capture a National Liberation Front stronghold near Saigon.  Operation Chopper marked America's first combat mission against the Viet Cong, and the beginning of one of our longest and most challenging wars.  Through more than a decade of conflict that tested the fabric of our Nation, the service of our men and women in uniform stood true.  Fifty years after that fateful mission, we honor the more than 3 million Americans who served, we pay tribute to those we have laid to rest, and we reaffirm our dedication to showing a generation of veterans the respect and support of a grateful Nation.

The Vietnam War is a story of service members of different backgrounds, colors, and creeds who came together to complete a daunting mission.  It is a story of Americans from every corner of our Nation who left the warmth of family to serve the country they loved.  It is a story of patriots who braved the line of fire, who cast themselves into harm's way to save a friend, who fought hour after hour, day after day to preserve the liberties we hold dear.  From Ia Drang to Hue, they won every major battle of the war and upheld the highest traditions of our Armed Forces.

Eleven years of combat left their imprint on a generation.  Thousands returned home bearing shrapnel and scars; still more were burdened by the invisible wounds of post-traumatic stress, of Agent Orange, of memories that would never fade.  More than 58,000 laid down their lives in service to our Nation.  Now and forever, their names are etched into two faces of black granite, a lasting memorial to those who bore conflict's greatest cost.

Our veterans answered our country's call and served with honor, and on March 29, 1973, the last of our troops left Vietnam.  Yet, in one of the war's most profound tragedies, many of these men and women came home to be shunned or neglected -- to face treatment unbefitting their courage and a welcome unworthy of their example.  We must never let this happen again.  Today, we reaffirm one of our most fundamental obligations:  to show all who have worn the uniform of the United States the respect and dignity they deserve, and to honor their sacrifice by serving them as well as they served us.  Half a century after those helicopters swept off the ground and into the annals of history, we pay tribute to the fallen, the missing, the wounded, the millions who served, and the millions more who awaited their return.  Our Nation stands stronger for their service, and on Vietnam Veterans Day, we honor their proud legacy with our deepest gratitude.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 29, 2012, as Vietnam Veterans Day.  I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that commemorate the 50 year anniversary of the Vietnam War.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.


I knew a man, called him _________*
Few folks even knew his name
But a hero, yes, was he
Left a boy, came back a man
Still many just don't understand
About the reasons that we are free

I can't forget the look in his eyes
Or the tears he cries
As he said these words to me

"All gave some and some gave all
And some stood through for the red, white and blue
And some had to fall
And if you ever think of me
Think of all your liberties and recall
Some gave all"

________*is no longer here
But his words are oh so clear
As they echo throughout our land

For all his friends who gave us all
Who stood the ground and took the fall
To help their fellow men

Love your country and live with pride
And don't forget those who died
America can't you see?

All gave some and some gave all
And some stood through for the Red, white and blue
And some had to fall
And if you ever think of me
Think of all your liberties and recall
Some gave all

And if you ever think of me
Think of all your liberties and recall, yes recall
Some gave all
Some gave all

 Billy Ray Cyrus Lyrics 
* fill in the blank if you know someone who died in Vietnam. 
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5 Responses Mar 31, 2012

Sorry Mr. President but your information is wrong. The cease fire went into effect on that day but we kept a military presence in the country until we closed the embassy there in 1975. I myself did not leave intil the end of March, six weeks after the war ended.


What about the maybe, if you count them up, four million Indochinese that died, something on that order? What about them?<br />
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You'll forgive my strong feelings on this issue.<br />
<br />
"We of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations who participated in the decisions on Vietnam acted according to what we thought were the principles and traditions of this nation. Yet we were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why."<br />
~Robert McNamara, in his 1994 memoir.<br />
<br />
Obama's attempts to ennoble and vain-glorify American aggression and brutality in that region, prove that he does not understand the Vietnam-Indochina Conflict. And indeed it seems to me that many victims of the American public school system do not. They don't understand that it was a war of aggression against Vietnamese unity and Vietnamese independence<br />
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Many people are unaware that the US military began indiscriminate bombing of targets in *South Vietnam* in 1963 under the guise of the "strategic hamlet program." This was roughly a year before operation rolling thunder. And it was kept highly secret.<br />
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"American imperialism has suffered a stunning defeat in Indochina. But the same forces are engaged In another war against a much less resilient enemy. the American people. Here, the prospects for success are much greater. The battleground is ideological. not military. At stake are the lessons to be drawn from the American war In Indochina; the outcome will determine the course and character of new imperial ventures." ~Noam Chomsky, 1975 <br />
<br />
Chomsky's words are eerily prophetic. Considering our continued involvement in south central America, the "war on drugs" the "war on terror", three conflicts in the middle east, our collaboration with Israel. People forget that it was American money that allowed both the Taliban and Saddam Husein to rise to power in the first place.<br />
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General Smedly R Butler is possibly the most decorated marine in US history. here's what he said about america's wars:<br />
<br />
"WAR is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes...."<br />
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Beware whenever any leader vain-glorifies conflict of any sort. Because he means that your children will fight and die in it...while his will be enriched.For example Bush Jr.

Oddly, I know no one who died in Vietnam although my brother, Michael, and his best friend Tom Fishbaucher, served in Vietnam. I was in the USNR and on active duty in 1969-1970. Thank you for sharing this.

This is a great thing that Barack Obama did. My own country (Australia) has Vietnam Veterans' Day on August 18. Thank you for posting this as well as Billy Ray Cyrus' beautiful lyrics, so timeless a tribute to many a serviceman.