The Defense Commissary Agency is hosting commemorative ceremonies March 29 at more than 70 stateside stores to recognize veterans who served on active duty during the Vietnam War era. The events are also being hosted at select exchanges.
All Vietnam-era veterans who served from Nov. 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975 are invited to attend and receive a lapel pin as part of the ceremonies.
The event is free and open to the public. Patrons are asked to check their local commissary and exchange to confirm event location and time of ceremony.
"The commissaries' participation in these ceremonies is pivotal to successfully reaching these Vietnam veterans, and DeCA is honored to partner with the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration in this effort," said retired Rear Adm. Robert J. Bianchi, DeCA's interim director and CEO. "We join a grateful nation in thanking our Vietnam-era veterans for their service and sacrifice."
This is the fourth year for the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration event which annually honors the service of living Vietnam War veterans on March 29, Vietnam Veterans Day.
Vietnam Veterans Day was first established by presidential proclamation in 2012 leading to the start of annual observance events in 2014. The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 further established the events as a national observance to recognize Vietnam War-era veterans for their service.
Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Michael Brazelton, a four-time Silver Star recipient and former Vietnam War prisoner of war, reflected on the Vietnam Veteran lapel pin during the July 8, 2015, congressional ceremony.
"I have had a number of medals pinned on me in my day and this is certainly the highest ranking and the most honors I have received for any pinning ceremony," Brazelton said. "Even though it might just be a lapel pin to a lot of people, this is like a medal to the Vietnam veterans."
Approximately 9 million U.S. military members served on active duty during the Vietnam War era. Out of the 2.7 million U.S. service members who served in Vietnam, more than 58,000 were killed and more than 304,000 wounded.