Department Begins Project for Vietnam War Veterans
By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2011 More than three decades after the war’s end, the Defense Department has begun a project to pay tribute to the nation’s Vietnam War veterans.
The 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Commemoration was spawned from the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act.
“It was a very important time period for veterans, because most Vietnam veterans as a whole never received the homecoming that our troops receive now,” said Army Lt. Col. Hunter Holliday, public affairs officer for the commemoration.
At the center of the project is a website, “50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Commemoration,” at http://www.vietnamwar50th.com, which will serve as a clearinghouse for information on the war once it is fully functional, a milestone expected this spring.
Information gleaned from the website is expected to be used for myriad purposes, such as to chronicle facts, provide educational materials, and offer resources for a commemorative partners program, Holliday said.
The partners program will comprise guidance and materials for agencies, veterans groups, local government and nongovernment organizations to conduct their own Vietnam War commemoration activities.
The website is expected to play a major role in the campaign, said Jeff Wilson, who handles marketing for the project, noting it will be highly interactive and will include content on historical events, a timeline, photos, documents, video and audio. A calendar will list major Defense-sponsored events.
The website is slated to offer a prelude of activities and ceremonies to:
-- Honor Vietnam War veterans and their families -- including prisoners of war and those listed as missing in action -- for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States.
-- Highlight Armed Forces service during the Vietnam War, in addition to contributions made by government and private organizations.
-- Pay tribute to the contributions made on the home front by U.S. citizens.
-- Highlight the advances in technology, science and medicine in military research made during the war.
-- Recognize contributions and sacrifices made by U.S. allies during the war.
“Hopefully [the commemoration] will be a healing process for the veterans who were never recognized properly when they came home,” Holliday said, noting the volatile political landscape that surrounded the war.