March 29 Media and Public Info Kit

"National Vietnam War Veterans Day" Media & Public Info Kit

Contents

  1. National Vietnam War Veterans Day, 29 March
  2. Call to Action / “Tag” Lines
  3. Key Messages
  4. Talking Points, Speech Templates
  5. Media Releases
  6. Proclamations
  7. Event Materials
  8. Important Supporting Facts
  9. Background
  10. Quotable Quotes 
  11. Clarification of Terminology

     TABS

A) National Vietnam War Veterans Day (Smart Sheet, Law)
B) Talking Points
C) Sample Press Release, Sample Social Media Posts
D) Listing of Available Event Materials, Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin Fact Sheet, "How to Present"   
    Instructions, 29 March Posters    

E) Presidential Proclamations, Sample State Proclamations
F) Commemoration Objectives
G) Commemorative Partner Program

1. National Vietnam War Veterans Day

     On March 28, 2017, the president signed into law The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2917 
     (
Public Law 115-15), designating every March 29 
as National Vietnam War Veterans Day (TAB A)

     
National Vietnam War Veterans Day joins six other military-centric national 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, 1973 was the day Military Assistance Command Vietnam was deactivated, so March 29 was chosen for this
     celebration.

 

2. Call to Action / Tag Line

     Join the Nation...thank a Vietnam veteran!

     (AdditionalCommemorative Partners only):
    
Proud partner with The U.S.A. Vietnam War Commemoration!

3. Key Messages

  • Across the nation, Americans continue uniting to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice.
  • (as of Dec 2018) Our Commemorative Partners have helped communities publicly and individually thank 2.3 million Vietnam veterans and their families during more than 15 thousand ceremonies.
  • (as of Dec 2018) More than 11 thousand local, state and national organizations have partnered with us to assist the Nation in honoring 6.4 million living Vietnam veterans and the 9 million families of those who served. Visit vietnamwar50th.com to discover how you can join us in this noble mission.

4. Talking Points

     Talking points for both sizeable (e.g., medium to large crowds/numbers of Vietnam veterans and families, wreath-
      layings) and intimate ceremonies e.g., single shut-ins, those in long-term care facilities and hospitals, small
      groups/numbers of Vietnam veterans and families) are provided. (TAB B)

      Also, 10-minute speech templates, complete with facts and video links are available upon request at
      whs.vnwar50th@mail.mil or (877) 387-9951.

5. Media Releases

    A sample Press Release and Social Media Posts are provided. (TAB C)

6. Event Materials

     A listing of all commemorative materials freely available for National Vietnam War Veterans Day events is provided.
     In addition, posters specific to March 29 are available via download. (TAB D)

     As a lasting memento of the Nation's gratitude, the Commemoration designed a Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin
     
f
or Commemorative Partners to publicly present to each veteran who served during the Vietnam War period.
    
     Living United States veterams who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the period of
     November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of location, are eligible to receive one lapel pin.

     The symbolism attached to these lapel pins is significant. The Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin Fact Sheet explains
     each of the incorporated elements. In addition, "How to Present" suggestions are included. (TAB D)

7. Presidential Proclamations

     2017 Proclamation: Commemoration runs through Veterans Day 2025. (TAB E)
     2012 Proclamation: Launched Commemoration. (TAB E)

8. Important Supporting Facts

    Commemoration Objectives:

     The Commemoration’s primary objective, as penned by Congress, is to thank and honor our Vietnam veterans
     and their families or their service and sacrifice on behalf of the nation.

     Congress also articulated four additional objectives for the Commemoration: to highlight the service of our
     Armed Forces and support organizations during the war; pay tribute to wartime contributions at home by
     American citizens; highlight technology, science and medical
advances made during the war; and recognize
     contributions by our Allies.
(TAB F) 

     Who We Honor:

     The Commemoration recognizes all who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during
     the period of November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of duty location; and their families.

     We make no distinction between veterans who served in-country, in-theater, or who were stationed elsewhere
     during the Vietnam War period. All were called to serve and none could self-determine where they were stationed.

     Inclusive Dates:

     November 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.

     Additional Background: 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.

     Commemorative Partners:

     Commemorative Partners are local, state and national organizations, businesses, corporations and
     governmental agencies that have committed to conducting two commemorative events or activities annually
     over a 3-year period in cities and towns all across America. Our partners publicly thank and honor Vietnam
     veterans and their families on behalf of the nation.
(TAB G)

     Vietnam Veteran Oral Histories:

     The Commemoration is collecting oral history interviews on video of Vietnam veterans and their families.
     As we interview Vietnam veterans, we are able to leverage their vast network of fellow veterans to interview
     and capture a wide breadth of experiences—all Services, ranks, specialties and viewpoints—that reflect personal
     thoughts and opinions about all aspects of the war. Eventually, this collection of interviews will be shared,
     unedited, with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. In the future, we plan to make these
     interviews are available on the Commemoration website.

     Pentagon Vietnam War Exhibit (3rd Floor, A-Ring, corridors 3-2):

     In collaboration with the OSD Historical Office, OSD Graphics and the Services’ History Offices, the Commemoration
     developed and established a museum-quality exhibit in the Pentagon. The Society for History in the Federal
     Government recognized this exhibit with its 2017 John Wesley Powell Prize for outstanding achievement in
     the field of historic exhibits and interpretive products.

     The Vietnam War Exhibit showcases the following:

  1. Timeline of significant events (September 1945-April 1975).
  2. Thematic representation of service member duties and military operations.
  3. Test panel from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, along with samples of the 400
    thousand items
    left at “The Wall” throughout the past 3 decades by 4 million annual visitors.
  4. Crew cabs of two Huey Helicopters representing a MEDEVAC and “Slick.”
  5. Interactive map of the Republic of Vietnam.
  6. Searchable video index of Medal of Honor recipients of the Vietnam War.
  7. Large four-panel video screen depicting the “daily life” of service members.
  8. “TV ‘68” monitor depicting videos, news broadcasts, commercials that were seen by the home front in 1968.

      This exhibit can be toured by the public as part of the larger Pentagon Tours program. For reservations, please visit
      https://pentagontours.osd.mil/Tours/.  

      Legacy Products:

      Eight different multi-poster series are freely available for download and use, as well Service-specific "patch"
      posters.
      Also, a Teachers' Toolkit provides comprehensive assistance for the classroom when discussing the Commemoration.

      Commemoration Leadership:

      Mr.  Sajeel Ahmed , acting Director of Administration in the Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, and
      acting Director of Washington     Headquarters Services, is the Executive Agent for The United States of America
      Vietnam War C ommemoration.
 

      Retired Army Major General James (Jim) T. Jackson is the director of The United States of America Vietnam War
      Commemoration, and as such leads day-to-day operations. 

9. Commemoration Background

  • In 2007, the 110th Congress incorporated language in H.R. 4986 authorizing the secretary of defense to conduct
    a program commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.
  • H.R. 4986 was signed into law as the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 by President George W.
    Bush on January 28, 2008.
  • Section 598 (Public Law 110-181) of the 2008 NDAA specifically addresses Commemoration activities. 
  • According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, 9 million Americans served during the Vietnam War period and
    approximately 6.4 million are living as of January 2019.
  • An inaugural ceremony was held at The Vietnam Veterans Memorial (“The Wall”) in Washington, D.C.
    on Memorial Day, May 28, 2012.
  • In 2007, the 110th Congress incorporated language in H.R. 4986 authorizing the secretary of defense to conduct
    a program commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

10. Quotable Quotes

       From President Donald Trump’s 2017 Presidential Proclamation:

      "To ensure the sacrifices of the 9 million heroes who served during this difficult chapter of our country's history
      are remembered for generations to come, I signed into law the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017,
      designating March 29 of each year as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. Throughout this Commemoration of the
      50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War, and every March 29 thereafter, we will honor all those who answered our
      Nation's call to duty. We vow to never again confuse personal disapproval of war with prejudice against those who
      honorably wear the uniform of our Armed Forces. With conviction, our Nation pledges our enduring respect,
      our continuing care, and our everlasting commitment to all Vietnam veterans."

     From 44th U.S. President President Barack Obama’s remarks at the 2012 Inaugural Ceremony

     “And one of the most painful chapters in our history was Vietnam -- most particularly, how we treated our troops
      who served there. You were often blamed for a war you didn’t start, when you should have been commended for
      serving your country with valor. You were sometimes blamed for misdeeds of a few, when the honorable service
      of the many should have been praised. You came home and sometimes were denigrated, when you should have
      been celebrated. It was a national shame, a disgrace that should have never happened. And that's why here
      today we resolve that it will not happen again.”

     From Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan's comments regarding the first anniversary of National
     Vietnam War Veterans Day, March 29, 2018:

     "Today is an opportunity to honor all Vietnam veterans who served, and to recognize the families that stood
      alongside them."

     Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Michael Brazelton’s (four-time Silver Star recipient and former Vietnam War POW)
     
reflections at the July 8, 2015 Congressional Ceremony  on the Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin: 

     “I have had a number of medals pinned on me in my day and this is certainly the highest ranking and the most
     honors I have received for any pinning ceremony. Even though it might just be a lapel pin to a lot of people,
     this is like a medal to the Vietnam veterans.”

     From former Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s comments at the December 20, 2017 Pentagon Vietnam
     War Exhibition Ribbon Cutting:

     “… these exhibits have also sought to ensure we continue to remember the lessons our military has learned
     along the way - many hard-won, some difficult to swallow … And of course, our fine and faithful tour guides
     will help walk - literally and figuratively - some 100,000 visitors through it each year … And they'll be reminded
     of the lessons we learned along the way … lessons on how our country must treat our warriors and our veterans,
     and the shame of how returning Vietnam veterans were treated - lessons that should continue, must continue
     to guide us in our work.”

     Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Clarence R. “Dick” Anderegg’s (Vietnam veteran; retired Director of Air
     Force History and Museums Policies and Programs, Headquarters Air Force; and Vietnam War Commemoration
     Federal Advisory Committee member) observations during a March 2017 tour of the exhibit:

     "As Air Force Historian, I spent many years seeing historical displays around the world. This is simply the
     best I've ever seen."

11. Clarification of Terminology

     Five specific clarifications  are provided on our website to help our partners and the public at large
     understand the terms we use or do not use and why. One key example is that we do not use the term
     "Vietnam-era veteran: to define those who served from 1 Nov 1955 to 15 May 1975. This is due to existing
     U.S. law, which for purposes of legal benefits defines "Vietnam era" as being (a) February 28, 1961 to
     May 7, 1975 or (b) August 56, 1964 to May 7, 1975.