50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War

Rick Gale  |   Wednesday Mar. 18th, 2015

One of the objectives of the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War is to thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War, including personnel who were held as prisoners of war (POW), or listed as missing in action (MIA), for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States and to thank and honor the families of these veterans.

Speaking on behalf of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 788, and for the men and women who served during that conflict, I want to express our gratitude to members of this community for thanking us again and again for our service and supporting this generation of veterans.

There was a time when soldiers returning from Vietnam were advised to change into civilian clothes on their flights home so that they would not  be confronted at airports by protesters carrying signs with anti-war slogans and called baby killers, psychos, drug addicts, and war mongers.

That was then.

Today, our soldiers are welcomed home at airports across the country and most recently at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport to show thanks to the men and women of the Montana National Guard 143rd Military Police Company returning home from a tour in Afghanistan.

In 1978, the Vietnam Veterans of America was congressionally chartered and exclusively dedicated to Vietnam-era veterans and their families.

Our Special Programs include seeking full access to quality health care for veterans, identifying the full range of disabling injuries and illnesses incurred during military service, supporting the next generation of America’s war veterans, and serving our communities.

During the next few weeks, the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 788 will be planning the 6th Annual Veteran Stand Down that will be held at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds on June 13, 2015.

The Stand Down is a one day event that provides services to homeless Veterans such as food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, VA and Social Security benefits and counseling, and referrals to a variety of other necessary services, such as housing, employment and substance abuse treatment.

In the months ahead, the Vietnam Veterans of America in partnership with the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, will continue promoting a Veterans Cemetery at Sunset Hills Cemetery that has become a focal point for special events like Wreaths Across America and Memorial Day that honor those who have served.

The motto of the Vietnam Veterans of America reads:  “Never again shall one generation of Americans abandon another.”

Rick Gale, USMC, is in the center of the photo.  Photo was taken in 1968 during the Tet Offensive.  I was 18 at the time.

About the Author(s)

Rick Gale

Rick Gale is Assistant National Director for the Elks Drug Awareness Program, a Bozeman Public Schools Guest Teacher, and member of Veterans Alliance of Southwest Montana.

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