The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) is promoting National Vietnam War Veterans Day – observed annually on March 29 – as a time to thank all Vietnam-era veterans for their dedicated service and great sacrifice. The DMVA is an official partner in the Department of Defense’s Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War.
The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 permanently designated this day as Vietnam War Veterans Day. This date’s historical significance goes back to March 29, 1973, when combat and combat support units withdrew from South Vietnam.
“Tomorrow we focus on thanking our Vietnam War veterans and their families for their tremendous service to this nation,” said Maj. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and head of the DMVA. “They make up the largest group of Pennsylvania veterans today (nearly 275,000) and deserve to be recognized on this national day of remembrance in their honor.”
In recent years, the DMVA has partnered with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) in Washington, D.C., to find a photo of every Pennsylvanian whose name appears on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall – commonly referred to as The Wall. The VVMF is posting the photos on a virtual Wall of Faces in order to put a face and a story to every name, allowing these Vietnam veterans to be honored by family, friends and others from around the world.
“Even though the Vietnam War ended decades ago, we still have firm resolve to keep these heroes’ memories alive, for what they and their families all did for this nation,” said Carrelli. “Through this virtual Wall, we can continue to honor these great Americans and teach future generations what our veterans have done to secure freedom for today.”
Though great progress has been made to find all 3,150 photos of service members from Pennsylvania whose names are on The Wall, there are still 10 missing; eight are from Philadelphia County, one from Montgomery County and one from Lycoming County. The DMVA continues to search feverishly for the remaining photos but help from the community is needed. Pennsylvania is one of 14 states and U.S. territories that is still searching for photos.
A complete list of Pennsylvania Vietnam veterans whose photos are still needed can be found by going to www.veterans.pa.gov, and clicking on Wall of Faces. Instructions on how to submit a photo can be found at http://www.vvmf.org/how-to-submit. To view the virtual Wall of Faces, go to www.vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces.
In observance of National Vietnam Veterans Day, Carrelli will participate in an event at Widener UniversityCommonwealth Law School in Harrisburg, honoring Vietnam veterans for their service and sacrifice.