WASHINGTON, D.C. – The war in Vietnam ended 50 years ago. Tens of thousands of US soldiers died. As a way to thank the millions of Vietnam veterans for their service, a three-day event is taking place in our nation’s capital.
“Served on USS Dewey (DLG-14), we were the last cruise in before Vietnam shut down,” said James Mitchell, a Vietnam Veteran. He’s one of the many Vietnam veterans taking part in the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration in Washington, D.C. It’s a three-day event along the national mall.
“They’re one of the only generations who did not receive a formal welcome home from the nation,” said USA Vietnam War Commemoration communications specialist Trina Gonzalez. “They do a great job welcoming home future veterans for their service when they return from combat and so we want to make sure that they receive the same treatment.”
The national anthem and a fly over by four Vietnam war period helicopters kicked off celebrations.
“We’ve got quite a lot of events, drill teams, musicians other performances here throughout the three-day experience,” said Gonzalez.
About 90 organizations, like Wreaths Across America, are also taking part in this event. Wreaths Across America is best known for coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and other locations across the U.S. and abroad.
“We have a mission to remember the fallen and honor those who served and teach the next generation the cost of freedom and to keep freedom alive,” said Karen Worcester, the executive director of Wreaths Across America.
They’re showcasing their mobile education exhibit, which travels around the country carrying out their mission and sharing the history of the organization.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to be part of this,” said Worcester.
Organizers hope people take the time to thank our veterans like Mitchell for their sacrifice and service to our country.
“This is really important because it recognizes the sacrifice of so many people and I wanted to be part of it,” said Mitchell.