Local veterans were thanked and honored for their service at a Vietnam War Commemoration Program at the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial Mar. 29, hosted by commemorative partners, including the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support.
“We recognize and pay special tribute to those individuals who gave so much more than they received,” said Army Col. Larry Dean, emcee and director of the DLA Troop Support Subsistence supply chain. “We honor them now for what they did then.”
The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 was signed into law by 45th U.S. President Donald J. Trump, designating every March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
“[This] marks the day the last U.S. troops left Vietnam, March 29, 1973,” said keynote speaker Steven Uchniat, president of the Vietnam Veterans of America Liberty Bell Chapter 266. “I’m proud to be a Vietnam veteran and to have served my country.”
Approximately 100 guests attended the event, including veterans, their family members and active-duty service members.
“Today’s event, held on National Vietnam War Veterans Day, is a perfect time to remember, honor and thank Vietnam veterans for serving our country,” said Army Brig. Gen. Eric P. Shirley, DLA Troop Support commander.
“Because of the brave and selfless service of more than 3.2 million Vietnam veterans like you, our country is where it is today, and our nation is immeasurably grateful,” Shirley said.
The event culminated with Vietnam War veterans and spouses in attendance receiving official Department of Defense commemorative lapel pins, presented by Junior Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps members from Martin Luther King Jr. High School.
Uchniat and other commemorative partner speakers highlighted the sacrifices of local veterans, including the 648 Philadelphians who lost their lives during the Vietnam War whose names are etched on the wall at the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Wreaths were laid at the memorial stone during the event by representatives from several veteran organizations.
“[The event was] wonderful and it great to see everyone,” said Sung Nam, president of the Korean American Vietnam War Veterans Pennsylvania Chapter. Nam also helped lay one of the wreaths at the memorial wall.
Additional hosting partners were the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial organization, the Corp. Michael J. Cresenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the Association of the U.S. Army Penn & Franklin Chapter. The Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce sponsored the event.
The Commemorative Partner Program is designed for federal, state, and local communities, veterans' organizations and other nongovernmental organizations to assist a grateful nation in thanking and honoring Vietnam veterans and their families, according to the program’s website.