Governor Haslam Proclaims Vietnam Veterans Day

Friday, March 28, 2014 | 08:00am

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder today announced March 29, 2014 as Vietnam Veterans Day to recognize the courage, service and sacrifice of the men and women who served during the Vietnam War.

On March 30, 1973, President Richard Nixon began withdrawing combat troops from Vietnam.  Between 1961 and 1975, more than 49,000 Tennesseans served in Southeast Asia.  Approximately 6,000 Tennessee troops were wounded in the Vietnam War and 1,295 Tennessee service members were killed.  There are currently 27 Tennesseans missing in action (MIA) in connection with the Vietnam War.  Clarksville soldier Staff Sergeant Lawrence Woods was interred at Arlington National Cemetery on March 21, 2014 after being missing in action for 50 years.

In 2008, Tennessee became the first state to proclaim a Vietnam Veterans Day.

“The words ‘thank you for your service’ and ‘welcome home’ are some of the most encouraging words for those who served and were rejected after the Vietnam War,” Grinder said.  “It is important to pause, remember and recognize the bravery of all who served and to do what we can to help heal the wounds of war.”

The State of Tennessee is a Commemorative Partner with the United States Department of Defense to formally recognize Vietnam Veterans leading up to the 50th anniversary of the withdrawal of troops which will be in 2023.

Grinder presented the Governor’s Vietnam Veterans Day Proclamation to President of the Tennessee State Council Vietnam Veterans of America, Barry Rice, during a United Tennessee Veterans Association event on Monday, March 24 and will present the proclamation to Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) Chapter 1073 on March 29 at 11:00 Morristown.

Assistant Commissioner Don Smith will present the proclamation at the 2014 National Vietnam Day Celebration at the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial adjacent to Worlds Fair Park in Knoxville on Saturday, March 29 at 10:30 a.m.  Smith also presented the proclamation to Monroe County Vietnam Veterans during a public event hosted by Blue Star Mothers.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Breece presented the proclamation to Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) Post 995 President Charlie Chance at an event in Jackson on March 27.