The Kolbe Family
50 Years Since Vietnam
Since the final American combat forces left Vietnam and the last of our POWs were brought home, it has been fifty years. We owe these warriors a great debt of gratitude even after fifty years have passed.
Political discussion and disagreement throughout the War were regrettably diverted toward individuals who had valiantly served our country. As these heroic soldiers returned from Vietnam, they were not greeted as heroes or given the respect they earned for their service, but rather were met with apathy, rage, and hatred. Unfortunately, many were forced to deal alone with their guilt, humiliation, and memories of those who were left behind.
These unsung warriors went to work, served in government, and were active in their communities after their duty in the war was complete. Veterans of the Vietnam War have now gone on to run Fortune 500 firms, direct Academy Award-winning films, develop a well-known computer programming language, map the human genome, and perform many other remarkable feats. More over 30% of America's veteran population is made up of the nearly 6 million living veterans from the Vietnam War today.
National Vietnam War Veterans Day, observed on March 29, honors these warriors. You may show your respect for them by attending the Welcome Home Ceremony at the National Veterans Monument and Museum at 10 A.M. EDT.. Capt. J. Charles "Charlie" Plumb (USN, Ret.), a naval pilot who was shot down and imprisoned in Vietnam for six years, will give the keynote address. His tale "Who Packs Your Parachute?" is renowned.
Vietnam veterans are particularly known for their remarkable humility, often downplaying their service and avoiding any discussions about their experiences during the war. Despite the significant hardships they endured, they remain deeply committed to their country and fellow citizens, and many continue to serve their communities and support their fellow veterans in silence. Their selflessness and modesty are inspiring, and they often deflect praise and recognition for their sacrifices. This is a defining characteristic and is a testament to their courage, and resilience. Vietnam veterans continue to exemplify the best qualities of the American spirit, reminding us all of the importance of service, sacrifice, and propriety.
As a grateful Nation, we honor more than 58,000 patriots—their names etched in black granite—who sacrificed all they had and all they would ever know. We draw inspiration from the heroes who suffered unspeakably as prisoners of war, yet who returned home with their heads held high. We pledge to keep faith with those who were wounded and still carry the scars of war, seen and unseen. With more than 1,600 of our service members still among the missing, we pledge as a Nation to do everything in our power to bring these patriots home.
A nationwide occasion to express gratitude for the sacrifices made by a generation of veterans is the 50th National Vietnam War Veterans Day. Veterans of the Vietnam War, we thank you for your bravery in battle and your dedication to our country both in and out of duty.
- The Kolbe Family