FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - March 29, 2023
(Douglas County, Ore.) Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman was honored to be asked to be the featured speaker at the sixth annual “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day” service held today at the Roseburg VA National Cemetery. The annual event is hosted locally by the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) Umpqua Valley Chapter #805 and Roseburg VA Health Care Center. March 29, 2023 commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the end of United States involvement in the Vietnam War. Commissioner Tom Kress was also in attendance to honor our local Vietnam Veterans.
Wednesday, March 29, was formally designated as National Vietnam War Veterans Day in 2017 in a proclamation by the President of the United States. It was created "to give Americans the opportunity to say 'Welcome Home' to a group of veterans who never got the reception they deserved when they returned to the United States.” The date coincides with the thirteen-year Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War which began in 2012 and will continue through March 29, 2025. A copy of the Presidential Proclamation from 2017 declaring the day can be found at https://www.vietnamwar50th.com/assets/1/7/Presidential_Proclamation_2.pdf.
To start his speech, Commissioner Freeman recognized and thanked the event organizers for including him, “Thank you Honorable Veterans of the Vietnam War, Vietnam Veterans of America Umpqua Valley Chapter 805, President Bill Duncan, Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 805, President Jennifer Ellis, Douglas County Veteran Group Leaders, with special thanks to President Carol Hunt of the Douglas County Wings of Love and Roseburg National VA Cemetery Technician Dan Carver.” He then spoke about the meaning of this special remembrance day and “this time of honoring some of the toughest and most capable warriors ever asked by America to go in harm’s way, Our Vietnam War Veterans.”
“I remain both amazed and in awe of your strength of character, and for the resilience you have shown from what you have overcome. You stepped forward and served in an unpopular war when our country called, and you did not hesitate to do your duty. Your dedication and sacrifice were ignored and belittled by America. The only welcome home many of you received was given by your immediate family or hostile demonstrators. I do not believe America will ever apologize to you properly or ask for forgiveness appropriately for the shameful way you were treated in years past. You should have received shouts of “Welcome Home and Well Done!” Hopefully America’s conscience has been awakened by this past injustice toward you and in some ways be healing for you. This continues to be my hope,” stated Commissioner Freeman.
He concluded his speech by stating, “I say in the sincerest, and strongest way possible to each Vietnam War Veteran, ‘You have been, you are and always shall be honored and welcomed in this your home.’ Thank you again for including me in this time of remembrance on this 50th anniversary celebration. May God Bless Vietnam War Veterans and may God Bless America!”
The National Vietnam War Veterans Day service included a welcome salute from VVA Vice President, Roger Boucock, an invocation and benediction by veteran James Little, posting of the colors, 28-gun salute and playing of “Taps” by the VVA #805 Color Guard, honorary eight bell tolls by Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter #805 (AVVA) member Dawn Waite, posting the memorial Vietnam Veterans Wreath by AVVA, a recitation of the Vietnam poem, “Across the Sea” by veteran Don Adams, bagpipes by veteran John Pierson with Military Honors by the Pipes
While not the end of the Vietnam War, March 29, 1973 marks the last U.S. combat troops departed Vietnam. They “furled unit flags, packed belongings and left,” an excerpt from ‘Vietnam Veterans Day offers chance to say 'welcome home' — and clear up misconceptions’ by Frank Lennon, journalist for The Providence Journal. It was also the day Hanoi released the last of its acknowledged prisoners of war. Today we honor everyone who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces from November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975. For more information about National Vietnam Veterans Day log onto: https://www.vietnamwar50th.com/about/national_vietnam_war_veterans_day/.
The Douglas County Commissioners know it is a privilege to be able to honor Vietnam Veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice for our country.
Media Contact: Tamara Howell, Douglas County Emergency Communications & Community Engagement Specialist, Douglas County Public Affairs Office |
Office: (541) 957-4896 | Cell: (541) 670-2804 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos © T.Howell/Douglas County.