NATIONAL VIETNAM WAR VETS DAY: Commissaries recognize service, sacrifice of military members from that era
Note: To view a listing of commissaries with confirmed events to honor Vietnam War-era service members and surviving spouses, go to DeCA’s Flickr page. Please note schedules are subject to change. Check with the store for exact time or any schedule changes. Even if your store isn’t listed, please check the store locations page on the DeCA website for contact information to see if your local commissary is hosting an event.
FORT LEE, Va. – Select commissaries worldwide are planning to schedule recognition events to honor Vietnam War-era veterans, surviving spouses and their families from March 22-31.
In observance of Vietnam War Veterans Day, March 29, eligible veterans who served from Nov. 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975 will receive a lapel pin at commissary events. Participants are advised to check with their local commissary for scheduled ceremonies.
Due to COVID-19, any in-person recognition event will include safety protocols such as limited access, “non-touch” checking of temperatures prior to entry, social distancing, the wearing of masks and no-contact presentations of lapel pins.
Despite the pandemic, the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) will join the nation in recognizing the service of Americans who served in that era, said Bill Moore, the agency’s director and CEO.
“Our Vietnam War-era veterans earned the nation’s gratitude through their service and sacrifice,” Moore said. “We at DeCA are proud to be part of the national effort to say ‘thank you.’ We also want to continue welcoming the millions of eligible veterans and their caregivers who are now authorized to shop on-base.”
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 were wounded.
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.
For retired Army Maj. Gen. Peter M. Aylward, director of the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, the mission is simple: The nation needs to tell these veterans that their service mattered.
“There is a scene from Saving Private Ryan where an aged Private Ryan (played by Harrison Young) turns to his wife and says: ‘Tell me I’ve led a good life. Tell me I’m a good man,’” Aylward said referencing the World War II movie on the Vietnam War Commemoration website. “We believe that is what we do when we extend our nation’s thanks to our Vietnam veterans. We tell these men and women they earned it. They made a difference in our lives and in the lives of our children.”
In addition to honoring these veterans, Moore said DeCA owes those of whom are disabled, a commissary benefit worthy of their service.
“My dad was an old Vietnam vet, so this is personal for me,” he said. “For our Vietnam War-era veterans, we honor their service and for any of those vets who are disabled and can shop in our stores, we want to reach out to them and let them know the commissary is here to deliver savings on their grocery bill.”
About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Commissaries provide a military benefit, saving authorized patrons thousands of dollars annually on their purchases compared to similar products at commercial retailers. The discounted prices include a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.