In Memory Day 2009
April 10, 2009
So many Vietnam Veterans still bear the scars of the conflict itself and of the horrible way they were treated upon their return home from the war. Instead of returning to Homecoming Parades and being treated like the Heroes that they were and are, they were welcomed with hatred and violence from their fellow Americans. That treatment left many scars, some that many of them still battle with today. I remember being a young teenager and seeing the violence played out on the screen of our television. I remember feeling so angry that people were treating our returning Troops that way, and vowing to myself that if our country ever sent our young people to war again, I would do everything in my power to ensure that another generation of veterans would not have to suffer the way our Vietnam Veterans did at the hands of their fellow Americans.
Years after the Vietnam War was over with, a memorial was created to honor those who lost their lives in Vietnam. A monument that they so rightly deserved. The gleaming black granite slabs that make up the Vietnam Memorial Wall are a lasting reminder to our country of the sacrifices that were made by thousands of men and women during the Vietnam War. That wall signifies the incredible loss by our country in that conflict. The Wall has become a place of reverential solitude, a place where friends and family members of the fallen can come to obtain a sense of peace, connection and closure. While many of these veterans are still among us, many lost their lives prematurely due to various reasons. So many of them died as a result of exposure to Agent Orange as well as the emotional wounds that never healed from PTSD, which during the Vietnam War, wasn’t recognized as stemming from the war.
This year, at the 11th annual “In Memory” ceremony, 123 American heroes from the Vietnam War will be honored posthumously. These heroes names won’t be found on The Wall, as they didn’t meet the criteria developed by the DoD. None the less, these heroes died directly as a result of the war. The 11th Annual ‘In Memory Day’ is scheduled to begin at 10am on Monday April 20th. It is expected that 1,000 family members, friends and fellow veterans will be on hand to participate in the event, that is sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
“In Memory Day allows The Wall to do what it does best: provide a healing environment for family members and friends,” said Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. “It also allows all of us to pay tribute to these brave Americans who served and sacrificed for their country.”1
Several speakers will be present, including Richard Schneider, executive director for government affairs for the NCO Association of the USA, as well as Navy Veteran Chuck Price, who will perform the song “The Unsung Heroes” which is a song about honoring and remembering our Vietnam Veterans. During the ceremony, family members will read their loved ones name in chronological order according to their date of death. Afterwards, participants in the ceremony will lay tributes at the base of The Wall corresponding to the years they served in Vietnam, so that these Veterans will come to rest near those comrades whom they served with. With the 123 names being read this year, a total of more than 1,800 people have been honored in the “In Memory Honor Roll.”
Our Vietnam Veterans, rightly deserve this honor after so many years. I’ve always believed that our country treated these men and women wrong and while we can never do enough to make up for the pain and suffering that we as fellow Americans have caused these brave Heroes, this is just a small step in the right direction. If you’re going to be in the Washington DC area on April 20th, I encourage you to stop by and take part in this ceremony to honor our Vietnam Heroes. I think that you’ll be incredibly touched by what you witness there. Too find out who is being honored this year on “In Memory Day” follow this link.
- http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=53869 [↩]