I recall that during many borough Veterans Day ceremonies State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) has remarked, “Every day should be Veterans Day.”
While he certainly is not the first person ever to utter that statement, its poignancy is in its brevity.
Think about that: Every day should be Veterans Day.
Ok. So it might not exactly be practical. But we need more than Veterans Day and Memorial Day.
You probably aren’t aware, but we do have more than those two dignified days. One of them just passed last Thursday.
March 29 is National Vietnam War Veterans Day, which honors the men and women who served and sacrificed during the longest conflict in United States history, and, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, it “commemorates the sacrifices of Vietnam veterans and their families and is part of a national effort to recognize the men and women who were denied a proper welcome upon returning home more than 40 years ago.”
Though there is some debate, as the NCSL tells it, March 29 is generally viewed as a more appropriate date. On that day in 1973, the last combat troops were withdrawn from Vietnam and the last prisoners of war held in North Vietnam arrived on American soil. It’s also the date President Nixon chose for the first Vietnam Veterans Day in 1974.
National Vietnam War Veterans Day is a solemn one, especially when you research and truly consider that unique of American conflicts. As National Day Calendar describes it, “It was on March 29, 1973, when combat and combat support units withdrew from South Vietnam. Generations later, veterans of this time period are gaining the respect that was not so freely given upon their return. Involving five U.S. presidents, crossing nearly two decades and 500,000 U.S. military personnel, it left an indelible mark on the American psyche. Returning veterans did not always receive respectful welcomes upon their arrival on American soil.”
Never forget: 58,000 of those brave veterans came home in boxes.
One group that will never forget, that always commemorates March 29: the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 32 headquartered in Whitestone.
VVA 32 is holding the torch for their brothers in arms by pushing government leaders and elected officials to keep to their promise to erect a Queens Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz delivered remarks at the VVA 32 meeting last Wednesday, March 28. She updated the vets on the progress of the project, reporting that the City Parks Department is in the final stages of hiring a contractor to build the memorial in Elmhurst Park. Katz also noted that her office has allocated more than $2 million to cover the entire cost of constructing the memorial, which is scheduled to be completed by 2020.
It will serve as a tribute to all the Queens residents who died while serving our county in the Vietnam War.
Can’t wait for that veterans day.


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