Washington, D.C.- Bipartisan legislation authored by Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Senator Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) permanently designating March 29th as National Vietnam War Veterans Day has been signed into law by President Trump.
The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act represents the first federal statute recognizing the bravery and sacrifice of veterans who served during the Vietnam War.
"In many cases, Vietnam veterans did not receive the warm welcome they earned when they came home," said Sen. Toomey. "Thankfully, in the years following the Vietnam War, people and organizations across the country took it upon themselves to right this wrong by honoring the sacrifice and dedication to service our Vietnam veterans displayed. Permanently designating March 29th as National Vietnam War Veterans Day is a small, yet significant step, in these efforts. My thanks go out to our veterans and my colleague, Senator Joe Donnelly for all their help to push this legislation across the goal line."
"With this bipartisan bill signed into law, we can finally give our Vietnam veterans the additional recognition they deserve," said Sen. Donnelly. "These Americans sacrificed to protect our country - they are our family, friends, and neighbors, and it is important to honor and remember their patriotism, service, and sacrifice. I'm proud to work with my colleague, Senator Toomey, on this effort to mark Vietnam War Veterans Day."
The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act is supported by the Vietnam Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars.
"Thanks to Senator Toomey for his efforts to recognize our Vietnam Veterans. I'm proud to have sponsored similar legislation in the past and glad to see it cross the finish line. This bill encourages the commemoration and recognition of the sacrifices of these valiant men and women; they deserve no less than our enduring respect and honor on National Vietnam War Veterans Day-and every day. We'll continue to stand with them for all they've done for our Nation," said Congressman Scott Perry.
"I want to thank Senator Toomey and his staff for their work to make the Vietnam Veterans Recognition Act a reality. For the past 27 months, I have worked on designating March 29th as National Vietnam War Veterans Day and words can't describe what the enactment of this bill means to me," said Sgt. Harold Redding, a Vietnam veteran from York, Pa. who came up with the concept of this legislation.
"The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States supports any recognition for veterans. This is certainly long overdue. Every day, as far as we're concerned is Veterans Day and the service and sacrifice of that generation of Americans certainly needs to be continually held in esteem," said John Biedrzycki, past Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam veteran, and resident of Coraopolis.
"It's outstanding that Sen. Toomey is working to support and honor our Vietnam veterans. Sen. Toomey's overall work on behalf of veterans is commendable and we thank Sen. Toomey for all his efforts," said Steven Ryersbach, Past State Commander- AMVETS Department of Pennsylvania.
"The Pennsylvania State Council of Vietnam Veterans of America supports the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act, which recognizes the service and sacrifice of those who answered our country's call and served, with honor, in Southeast Asia. We appreciate Sen. Toomey and Sen. Donnelly for their leadership on this bill and their ongoing support for our Vietnam Veterans," said Tom Haberkorn, President of Pennsylvania State Council of Vietnam Veterans of America.
"All Vietnam War veterans deserve high honor and respect that many of them did not get when they returned home from war. Designating March 29th of each year to say ‘welcome home' and ‘thank you' to our Vietnam War veterans is a strong signal that America appreciates the service of these special patriots of freedom. The Pennsylvania VFW thanks Senator Toomey for his ongoing efforts to recognize veterans of all service periods including our brothers and sisters who served in Vietnam," said Thomas A. Brown., Pennsylvania VFW State Commander.
The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act is the first federal statute that specifically provides for the honoring of Vietnam War veterans
• Permanently designates March 29th annually as National Vietnam War Veterans Day
• On March 29, 1973, the last combat troops were ordered out of Vietnam
o While many troops remained behind before the fall of Saigon - March 29th holds great meaning for many Vietnam veterans
• Includes March 29th as a day "the flag should be displayed"
The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act was passed unanimously by both chambers of Congress
• Introduced in the Senate by Senator Toomey and Senator Donnelly on February 3, 2017
o Passed Senate unanimously on February 8, 2017
o Passed House unanimously on March 21, 2017
o Signed by President Trump on March 28, 2017