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Veterans Recognized on “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day
Press Release
Mar. 28, 2012

SALEM -- Nearly 40 years ago, a generation of courageous and honorable American veterans endured jeers and ridicule for serving and fighting in an unpopular war.  In 2011, the State of Oregon passed legislation in support of those veterans by designating March 30 of every year “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.”
 
Gov. John A. Kitzhaber, M.D., signed Senate Bill 74 into law to create the official day of recognition. The day honors Vietnam veterans and is part of a national effort to acknowledge the men and women of the Vietnam War who were denied this recognition and welcome upon returning home.
 
“(The bill) is an effort – small, but significant – to rectify that,” the governor noted.
 
On March 30, 1973, all United States troops withdrew from Vietnam following the peace accord signed in January 1973 by the U.S. and North Vietnam in Paris, France.  The Treaty of Paris signaled the end of America’s long involvement in Vietnam. Today, there are nearly 120,000 Vietnam veterans living in Oregon.
 
“Warriors don’t go to war for memorials, to earn medals or have parades when they return home,” said Jim Willis, a Vietnam veteran and director of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs.  “You go to war for the man on your left, the man on your right, the one behind you.”
 
Creating a day to welcome home Vietnam veterans was first proposed in the California State Assembly. After its passage, the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs was asked to consider passing similar legislation in their states. Oregon was one of the first states to draft and pass its own bill.
 
The plan to welcome home Vietnam veterans has been so well received the U.S. Senate passed a resolution mirroring those passed by the states.
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