Vietnam Veterans Officially Welcomed Home

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG)   |  By Elise Spleiss
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L-R: Gregory A. Miyata, Army Specialist 4, served as a medic in Vietnam 1970-1971 and Raymond M. Chow, E-3, U.S. Navy, 2 tours from 1968, on U.S.S. Sacramento munitions transport ship in Vietnam. Photo by Gigi Rayford

March 29 is Official Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Day

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - On March 29 Stones Gambling Hall, partnering with American Legion (AL) Post 637, sponsored a breakfast in honor of Vietnam War Veterans and the one-year anniversary of the signing into law of the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act.  

Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania sponsored the bill during the 115th Congress.  It was signed into law by President Donald Trump, on March 28, 2017 to honor all Vietnam War veterans. March 29 is now officially among those days on which the American flag should be displayed.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Mayor Steve Miller thanked Stone’s and AL Post 637 for partnering to put the event together.  He said, “You left the warmth of family to serve a country you love.  You braved the line of fire and cast yourself into harm’s way to preserve the liberties we all hold dear. This is a story many of you here today know, and sadly it a story of many who never returned.”

Former mayor of Citrus Heights and now a Sacramento County Supervisor, Sue Frost, gave a short history of the Vietnam War / conflict.  She said, “The U.S. became involved in the Vietnam War because policy makers in the U.S. believed that if Vietnam fell to the Communist government that communism would spread throughout the rest of South East Asia.” 

She noted, “This day is set aside as a day for Americans to honor the courage and sacrifice of those who served in the Vietnam War, long deserved, and we all celebrate you today.”

Frost announced that the Sacramento Board of Supervisors recently voted unanimously to establish a Veterans Advisory Commission to keep the board of supervisors advised on issues related to veterans. This was the result of feedback from veterans she has met in the field who feel they do not have a voice in the county.

Kermit Schayltz, a partner at Stones, spoke about a five-day trip to Vietnam from which he had just returned.  He and some friends revisited some of the locations where he had served as an 18-year old in the 25th Army Infantry during two tours of service from 1968 to 1970.  While there he was introduced to two former Viet Cong, now in their 80’s. Schayltz said in a phone interview that he believed it was a healing process for both of them.

It is common belief by many that this bill is long overdue, especially in light of the negative and often hateful reception which many veterans returning home to the United States received following their tours of duty.

Therefore, in appreciation of Trump’s actions as the first president to recognize Vietnam veterans in this way, AL Commander Paul Reyes read a letter he wrote to Trump showing the post’s appreciation. Vietnam veterans attending the event signed the letter to be mailed by Reyes to the White House.

Reporter’s note: *While the term war is used, there was no official declaration of war.  Fighting began November 1, 1955; the U.S. entered the conflict / war 53 years ago on March 8, 1965 when the first American combat troops waded ashore at China Beach north of Da Nang.  The conflict / war ended April 30, 1975 when Saigon fell to the Communists.