Vietnam Veterans Day date is significant

Published 7:38 am Wednesday, March 6, 2024

By Gene Hays
MSgt, USMC (Ret)

Celebrated every March 29, Vietnam Veterans Day is set aside as a day for Americans to honor the courage and sacrifice of those who served in the Vietnam War. 

Officially designated in 2017 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day by President Donald Trump, the holiday is marked by ceremonies and celebration across the United States. 

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Vietnam Veterans Day is also observed in the state of Mississippi, designated by our legislature, and signed into law by our Governor Phil Bryant. This special day joins six other military-centric annual observances codified in Title 4 of the United States Code §6 (i.e., Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, Navy Day, Veterans Day).

March 29 is a fitting choice for a day honoring Vietnam veterans. It was chosen to be observed in perpetuity as March 29, 1973, the day United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam was disestablished as the day the last U.S. combat troops departed Vietnam.  

In addition, on and around this same day Hanoi released the last of its acknowledged prisoners of war. The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration honors all veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time from November 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975, regardless of location. 

Nov. 1, 1955, was selected to coincide with the official designation of Military Assistance Advisory Group-Vietnam (MAAG-V); May 15, 1975, marks the end of the battle precipitated by the seizure of the SS Mayaguez.

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates in 2021, that there are more than 6 million U.S. Vietnam veterans living in America and abroad, along with 9 million families of those who served during this time. 

U.S. involvement in Vietnam started slowly with an initial deployment of advisors in the early 1950s, grew incrementally through the early 1960s and expanded with the deployment of full combat units in July 1965.

The last U.S. personnel were evacuated from Vietnam in April 1975. This national commemoration was authorized by Congress, established under the Secretary of Defense, and launched by the president to thank and honor our nation’s Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice.