Today marks National Vietnam Veterans Day, which recognizes and honors the service of six-and-a-half million living Vietnam veterans and their families.
President Trump signed into law two years ago the Vietnam Veterans Recognition Act that designates every March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
This historic significance of this particular day is that it was on March 29, 1973, when the last of our combat troops left Vietnam.
"On behalf of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans we are deeply honored to serve, I want to say thank you to our country's more than six-and-half million Vietnam Veterans and their families," said Robert Wilkie, secretary of the department.
This special recognition day is part of the nation's on going commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. In addition to the support of the VA, the commemoration is also supported by more than 10,000 local, state and national organizations.
"We honor the nine million American men and women who served on active duty from November 1, 1955, to May 7, 1975. We do solemnly remember more than 58,000 whose names are etched into the Vietnam Memorial's polished black granite — constant reminders of the price of freedom," Wilkie added.
There will be a ceremony honoring our local Vietnam veterans at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 30, at Veterans Memorial Park, on the north side of the Civic Center, in Lake Charles.
According to the National Archives, 885 Louisianians lost their lives during the Vietnam War, including Medal of Honor recipient 1st Lt. Douglas Fournet, who is remembered locally with a statue at Veterans Memorial Park and a highway named in his memory.
You can also learn a lot more about this memorable time in our history at the Vietnam War Commemoration Commission web site at www.vietnamwar50th.com.
Another important legacy of the Vietnam War is to never forget those Americans who were listed as prisoners of war or missing in action and are still unaccounted.
That important action has been driven by the National League of POW/MIA Families and the U.S. Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).
So on this solemn day in U.S. History, thank a Vietnam veteran or remember in your own way those who have sacrificed their lives in defense of our freedom.