The year is 1969. A young man is returning home from Vietnam. He is told to change out of his uniform as soon as he arrives to avoid any hostilities from the public. There is no welcome home. He quietly slips back into civilian life, speaking of his service to neither his family nor anyone he encounters. He once again becomes part of the fabric of daily life in America but inside he is different, carrying with him experiences of his service that he must deal with alone. He has served his country honorably but feels no pride.
This young man is one of many who served during the Vietnam War and who are now, fifty years later, being sought out by a remorseful nation, eager to express its long overdue gratitude. In 2008, the establishment of the United States of America Vietnam War 50th Commemoration was authorized by Congress.
The commemoration of the 50th anniversary was officially launched on Memorial Day 2012 and will run through Veterans Day 2025. March 29th, which marks the anniversary of when the last of the US troops were withdrawn from Vietnam in 1973, has been officially designated as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
A Commemorative Partner Program was developed to assist hometown efforts to reach all Vietnam Veterans, wherever they live, who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time between November 1, 1955 and May 1, 1975, regardless of location, to thank and honor them for their service and sacrifice.
Hospice of Cincinnati became a Commemorative Partner in March 2021, in time for National Vietnam War Veterans Day, and began honoring our Vietnam Veteran patients with a special pinning ceremony. At a recent ceremony, the services and sacrifices made by hospice patient David, and his wife, were recognized by Hospice of Cincinnati. David is one of those young men, serving in the Navy from 1968 to 1972, dedicating five years of his life to serving our country. In sharing what the special pinning ceremony meant to him, David paused thoughtfully, then commented that this “completed” his enlistment.
Hospice of Cincinnati will continue participating in commemorative activities during this 50th anniversary time period. On behalf of a grateful nation, Hospice of Cincinnati expresses its deepest thanks to David and all Veterans who served during the Vietnam Era, as well as their families, for their service, their valor and their sacrifice.