Letter: A welcome home for Vietnam vets

Throughout the span of the Vietnam War, nearly three million military personnel served with distinction, roughly 1,300 were kept as prisoners of war or went missing in action, and over 58,000 died, including 57 fellow Alaskans. It was one of our nation’s longest and most challenging military conflicts, and yet too many veterans returned home unwelcome.

While members of the armed forces suffered from physical injuries and mental trauma, they were also treated shamefully and disrespected by civilians who did not, could not, understand the hardships they had endured. As Alaskans, we should recognize that regardless of one’s political views of the Vietnam War, the men and women who served deserve to be honored for their sacrifices.

March 29th – Vietnam Veterans Day – marks a day of remembrance, a day for people across the state to recognize and honor those who served in Vietnam. This day is an important gesture of acknowledgement and gratitude for those who lost their lives and to those who returned home to champion the cause of all military veterans.

Veterans of Vietnam should know that we honor their service, and pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives serving. This March 29 – a day designated as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day in Alaska – please show our veterans all across the state our utmost respect, gratitude and support by saying “Welcome home.”

Daniel McDonald

Alaska Senate Majority Press