In an unusual “op-ed” published today in Military.com, Military Times and Stars and Stripes, President Barack Obama paid tribute to all “our men and women in uniform who gave their lives so that we could live free” in all our wars, but singled out the Vietnam War (This Memorial Day marks the beginning of the 50th anniversary of that War), those who died in that war and its veterans.
Indicating that he would join Vietnam veterans and their families for a ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., the President writes:
I’ll join Vietnam veterans and their families for a ceremony to begin this 50th anniversary. It will be an occasion to honor the 58,282 names on The Wall—men and women who gave their lives in that war. We’ll stand with their families, who have borne that loss ever since. And we’ll reaffirm our commitment to never stop searching for the 1,666 service members who are still missing from that war.
The President expresses sorrow — and shame — that the Vietnam War veterans “didn’t always receive the respect and thanks they deserved, [that][a]t times they were neglected and even shunned,” and makes it clear that this 50th anniversary is America’s “opportunity to do it right,” to give our Vietnam veterans the respect and honor they deserve.
This Memorial Day, let’s remember all those who’ve put on the uniform, served far from home, and laid down their lives so we can live ours in security and freedom. And let’s take this opportunity to truly honor and support all those who served and sacrificed in Vietnam. That’s what we’ll be doing when we gather today at The Wall, and that’s what we can all do together in the months and years ahead.
Please read the entire op-ed here.
Image: White House.gov
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.