March 29 is Vietnam Veterans Day. This day officially commemorates the same day in 1973 on which the last U.S. troops arrived on American soil.
The Vietnam War was unique and controversial. It was a long and expensive war in which over 58,000 Americans were killed. In the end, the U.S. withdrew its forces, and Vietnam was under communist control just two years later. At home in the U.S., support for the war was unpopular, and that lack of support unfortunately transferred to the veterans returning home, despite the fact they were just following orders.
Vietnam Veterans Day is much more than an observation of the return home—it is a call to action to support both Vietnam veterans and veterans returning home in the future.
Effects Of Vietnam War On The U.S.
The Vietnam War left many scars. Its side effects are countless, but to name a few:
- 500,000 Vietnam War veterans of the 3 million suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Higher than the rate among other veterans, Vietnam War veterans experienced statistically more suicide, divorce, alcoholism and drug addiction.
- At home, the country was split. Half appeared to view the government and military power as an unchecked authority. The other half viewed opposing the government as unpatriotic.
- Well over 10,000 soldiers were dishonorably discharged for desertion.
- Over 500,000 Americans dodged the draft—many fled to Canada.
- The U.S. spent over $120 billion on the war. This led to inflation, an oil crisis and high fuel prices.
- Veterans came home to negative reactions from protestors and supporters (who felt they left early and lost the war).
- Veterans came home physically damaged by many afflictions, including the effects of Agent Orange which had been dumped by their own U.S. forces.
- 58,272 Americans were killed or missing. Over 900 died on their first day in Vietnam.
- 1,600 Americans are listed as prisoners of war (POW) or missing in action (MIA).
Vietnam Memorial Wall
In somber remembrance to the Vietnam War and U.S. veterans, the Vietnam Memorial Wall, was opened in 1982. Here are some facts about the wall:
- 58,272 names are listed on the wall.
- 8 women are listed on the wall. One of them, Annie Ruth Graham, served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
- Maya Lin designed the wall at age 21.
- The memorial cost $18.7 million in today’s money. All the money for the wall was privately funded—the government did not contribute any funds.
- The wall is 493 feet long.
- The names on the wall are in order of death or reported missing from 1959 to 1975.
- The majority of names on the wall were people age 15-21.
If a veteran you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call 988 then press 1 or visit the Veterans Crisis Line website.
Vietnam Veterans Day is an opportunity for a lesson to take care of U.S. veterans when they come home. Visiting the local VA, creating care packages for veteran families and making donations are three really easy ways to get started showing your appreciation to veterans.
This Vietnam Veterans Day, start or continue your support of veterans by donating your unwanted car to Vehicles For Veterans. By simply donating any vehicle that is just sitting in your driveway or garage, you will help benefit disabled and other veterans’ charities. It’s an easy way to show your support while also receiving the perks of free towing and a great tax deduction.
Donate today by calling 1-855-811-4838 or fill out an online donation form.