SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – Across the country people are pausing to remember veterans of the Vietnam War.
On this day in 1973, the last combat troops left Vietnam. Now, it’s a day to remember and say thanks to those who served.
A stark contrast to the reaction they received when first returning home.
“We had confused politics and a divided society when we came home. We were spit on, called names, pushed around, rocks thrown at us, things like that,” said Vietnam veteran Dennis Howland.
Howland is one of about 28,000 Utahns who left home to serve our country in the Vietnam war, 366 never returned.
They made the ultimate sacrifice.
“It’s a day we set aside to recognize those who served in the Vietnam era,” said Gary Harter, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs.
In 2014, then State Representative Curt Oda ran a bill designating march 29th as Vietnam Veterans Remembrance Day. Utah became the 21st state to do so.
Last year, President Trump declared it a national day of remembrance.
“And, they say never again will we treat those who wear our uniform, and go in harms way, the way we were treated,” said Harter.
A meaningful message for those willing to put it all on the line for our freedom.
“It adds credibility to our service, and is something that has been a long time coming. Every Vietnam veteran earned this, but it took 40 years for our country to even say thank you,” said Howland.
The memorial wall at the State Capitol contains the name of all those Utahns who lost their lives.
A new one is being constructed in Layton. It will contain the names of the more than 58,000 Americans who lost their lives. It will be opening up this summer.
Health care, employment, disability and other services for veterans are available through the Department of Veterans and Military Affairs.