Vietnam Veterans Finally Get Their Own Day on March 29
By Joe Newby
They went to war, fought for us, bled for us, died for us. When they came home, they were spit on and treated worse than dirt. That’s right, I’m talking about those who served in the Vietnam War.
Finally, after 50 long years, they’re getting their own day, according to the VA:
As part of the 50th Commemoration of the Vietnam War, VA and 29 states and territories are commemorating the anniversary of the final withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam with a day of appreciation celebrated on March 29.
More than 40 years after the war, many Veterans continued to feel the effects of their service. Some battled with Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Others fought illnesses caused by their exposure to Agent Orange and other chemical defoliants sprayed during the Vietnam War.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) believes their fight should be honored.
One of those who served is my good friend Vietnam Marine Vet John "Jack" Cunningham, who continues to fight not only PTSD, but a legal system in New Jersey that seems to be doing all it can to deny him justice.
He wrote a poem, called “Dear Vietnam Veteran,” and you can see it below, or visit his website to hear it.
“Dear Vietnam Veteran”
I know I should have written much sooner.
I can’t say why I did not. Out of fear of admitting to myself you were there fighting a war. Or maybe ashamed; ashamed that I never accepted the things you felt you had to do.
Whatever it is, I know it must hurt.
Believe me when I say it hurts me more. I have the burden of your hurt plus that of my own; the pain of not being able to show my true feeling toward you.
I am not writing this for the months you served in Vietnam, but for the many years, you were left alone with only your brother Veterans. You served proudly and it went unmentioned.
For a long time, I’ve wanted to express the words. The words an honorable Veteran needs to hear.
For a long time, I’ve wanted to hold you during your times of pain.
God knows I wanted to.
And only He knows why I never found the courage. I do not remember what I used to say; maybe I do not want to remember.
All I know is I hope that it is not too late to give you those things now.
For years, you tried to be part of my world. Doing everything to please me, just to be noticed and given a little time and understanding.
I look back and see the demands I placed on your shoulders when you were young. “Fight your weakness, and always show strength to others around you.”
Who was I to make such a demand?
I sit here with tears in my heart, finally admitting to myself the one weakness you must have seen in me and never questioned.
My inability to say the words that I know would have meant so much to you.
You served your country honorably.
Please hear these words now, from my heart. Please give me a chance to be part of your world now. The world I should have been part of long ago.
Thanks, John "Jack" Cunningham, for your service and all you’ve done for your country. And thanks go out to all those who served during that God-awful war. You’re finally getting your day, and it’s about damn time.
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VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICA
Founded in 1978, Vietnam Veterans of America is the only national Vietnam
veterans organization congressionally chartered and exclusively dedicated
to Vietnam-era veterans and their families. VVA is organized as a not-for-profit
corporation and is tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(19) of the
Internal Revenue Service Code.
VVA FOUNDING PRINCIPLE
"Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another."
Aggressively advocate on issues important to veterans
Seek full access to quality health care for veterans
Identify the full range of disabling injuries and illnesses incurred during military service.
Hold government agencies accountable for following laws mandating veterans health care.
Create a positive public perception of Vietnam veterans
Seek the fullest possible accounting of America's POW/MIAs
Support the next generation of America's war veterans
Serve our communities.
Life Member VVA 1048, Author, Historian, a retired U.S. Army Master Sgt., served in the Vietnam War with the 25th Infantry Division in 1968-69.
Colonel Frank Farmer
Dr. Harry Frank Farmer Jr. served in the U.S. Army, Florida National Guard and U.S. Air Force before his retirement as a Colonel in 2004. A Vietnam veteran and former professor of history, Farmer became a physician in 1976 and served as president of the Florida Medical Association, chairman of the Florida Board of Medicine, and from 2011-2012 as Surgeon General and Secretary of Health for the State of Florida.
Web Master Rod Phillips email@example.com
VVA NATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT MEDAL
Staff Sergeant Rod Phillips is a proud Combat Wounded Vietnam Veteran who joined the United States Army in July of 1967, following the traditions of his Father and Grandfathers, attending infantry training at Fort Benning Georgia, then onto Advanced Infantry training at Fort Gordon Georgia returning to Fort Benning for Airborne Jump School. In December 1967, after Parachute Training Rod, was assigned to the 101st “Screaming Eagles” Airborne Division in Vietnam, another generation of the “Band of Brothers”. Rod's introduction to Vietnam was during the infamous “Tet Offensive” of January 1968.
While in Vietnam Rod walked point, the tip of the spear, in the Northern I Corps area of the Ashau Valley, Hue-Phu Bai near Laos, and the DMZ, conducting search and destroy missions in 101st Airborne operations Somerset Plain, Nevada Eagle, and many others. Rod was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant and awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal, and more medals including Presidential Unit Citations. More.....
Bob Adkins, 1st VP
Recipients of the 2017 J J Martin Leadership Awards
front row l-r Jose Rosa, Rod Phillips, Dallas Proax, Fred Costello and Bob Bendlin
back row l-r George Reagan, Bob Adkins
**Colonel Frank Farmer
**SSG Rod Phillips
Inducted into the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame