American flag

Did you serve in the Armed Forces during the Vietnam War? If so, we have something to say to you:

Thank you.

Some may not know it, but today is National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

The observance was made official by President Trump last year when he signed into law the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017, paying tribute to those who served during that divisive conflict and encouraging Americans to display the U.S. flag in their honor each March 29.

The numbers from that war are as staggering today as they were then:

More than 9 million American men and women served on active duty during the Vietnam War era from Aug. 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975. More than 2.7 million served in Vietnam, and between 1 million and 1.6 million either fought in combat or provided close support. More than 58,000 Americans died. More than 300,000 were wounded. More than 2,000 went missing in action. More than 700 were prisoners of war.

Those young soldiers, airmen and sailors who were lucky enough to come home are the older generation now, but they still carry the scars of war and the bitter memories of the chilly welcome they received upon returning home.

The vast majority of those who answered our country’s call — whether by enlistment or by draft — did so with honor. They deserved our respect then, and they deserve our gratitude now.

Fly the American flag today and thank a Vietnam War veteran, which we proudly do.

The Finger Lakes Times’ Editorial Board includes Publisher Paul Barrett, Executive Editor Mike Cutillo, Managing Editor Chuck Schading, News Editor Alan Brignall and Chief Copy Editor Mary Schoonover.

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