Reflecting on the National Vietnam War Veterans Day

By Sherman Fleek and Dave Nagle USMA Command Historian and USMA Speech Writer

March 22nd, 2018 | News, News and Features
“The Wall That Heals,” the traveling 250-foot mobile replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C., came to West Point from Oct. 22-25, 2015. It will return to the Hudson Valley region to Newburgh, N.Y., from Aug. 1-5 this year. Photos by Michelle Eberhart/DPTMS
 National Vietnam War Veterans Day is on March 29. It honors the men and women who served and sacrificed during the longest conflict in United States history.

National Vietnam War Veterans Day is on March 29. It honors the men and women who served and sacrificed during the longest conflict in United States history.
It was on March 29, 1973, when American combat and combat support units withdrew from South Vietnam. However, by the war’s end in 1975, more than three million American men and women would serve in Vietnam, including hundreds of members of the Long Gray Line.
Generations later, veterans of this time period are gaining the respect that was not so freely given upon their return. Involving five U.S. presidents, crossing nearly two decades, and 500,000 U.S. military personnel, Vietnam left an indelible mark on the American psyche. The U.S. Military Academy was closely involved with the war, when one of the largest construction programs in West Point history occurred during the war to accommodate the Corps of Cadets, which nearly doubled in number.
Returning veterans did not always receive respectful welcomes upon their arrival on American soil. This war did not come without cost.
More than 58,000 American service members were killed and, never to return. Of this tragic loss of life, 334 were graduates of West Point. National Vietnam War Veterans Day recognizes the military service of these men and women who answered the call to serve their country when she needed them.
They didn’t make the decisions to go to war. Hundreds of West Point officers served in the war with three of the four Military Assistance Command-Vietnam commanders attending the academy. In addition, many of the names on prominent buildings throughout the campus honor these fallen brothers in arms—Holleder, Arvin, Enners and Nathe.
“The Wall That Heals,” a mobile three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) in Washington, D.C., is scheduled to be in the Hudsin Valley region in Newburgh, New York, Aug. 1-5.
On National Vietnam War Veterans Day, we recognize the service and duty rendered by all servicemen and women of this era. So, thank a Vietnam veteran.