J. Marc Burgess, National Adjutant
A special thanks to our Vietnam veterans
As we begin the month of March, it’s fitting we take a few moments to acknowledge a special group of veterans who have sacrificed for the way of life we hold dear and the nation we love so much.
March 29 is National Vietnam War Veterans Day—a day of remembrance signed into law last year to honor those who served during that era.
Since I first joined DAV more than 20 years ago, Vietnam veterans have been the undisputed leaders in our organization. They’ve provided veterans of every generation with mentorship, leadership and guidance—all familiar traits for those of us who have spent time in our nation’s service.
At the height of the Vietnam War, veterans returned home to a country deeply divided by politics, socioeconomic status, access to education and racial issues. Many were chided by fellow Americans or were refused the opportunities they deserved, and their service often went unacknowledged—or worse.
But out of that bleak time in our nation’s history, a group of individuals collectively decided that veterans should never again be treated so shamefully. Through how they were treated and how they’ve cared for their fellow veterans, our nation has largely learned to separate the war from the warrior.
In the aftermath of the Gulf War, Vietnam veterans organized and met troops at airports, military bases, returning ports and wherever else service members were returning home. Because of Vietnam veterans, the yellow ribbon was once again seen as a symbol that a fellow citizen could use to show their support for military members and the veteran community.
As a result, despite personal feelings on politics and policy matters, most fellow Americans will no longer hesitate to thank soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines or coastguardsmen for their service.
Because of Vietnam veterans’ continued service to fellow veterans, military members who have followed owe them a debt that cannot truly be repaid. We can merely pay it forward to the next generation.
This is a legacy Vietnam veterans should rightly be very proud of, and I’m grateful they are a part of DAV’s history of service to fellow veterans.
If you want to find out more about the National Adjutant, you can find his biography here.