Greenfield Mayor William Martin has declared March 29th, 2018 to be Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Day. A ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Greenfield Veterans' Mall to commemorate the day (see below for additional information). This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Tet Offensive.
Mayor Martin, a Vietnam Veteran, served as a combat medic with the 1st Air Cavalry Division Airmobile, earning 3 Bronze Stars with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters for Valor; an Army Commendation Medal with Valor; and a Combat Medical Badge, Air Medal. Mayor Martin has a long history of advocating for Vietnam Veterans including serving as a Charter Board Member of the national group Vietnam Veterans of America.
“The memory for approximately 3 million young soldiers that returned from the Vietnam War was in stereo and Technicolor,” said Martin. “It was long, hot, loud and wet. Not just sweat and tears but sweat and blood. The flesh was torn, the mind was amputated. The foreign jungle scenes challenged the 1950’s pleasant communities most grew up in.”
The impact of Vietnam Veterans reached beyond the war, with Veterans pushing for research on mental health issues, leading to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) being placed PTSD in the official Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) by The American Psychiatric Association. “As a psychiatric nurse at the VA, I can speak firsthand about how important mental health care is for Veterans,” said Martin. “I encourage veterans to use the White House Hotline – 1-855-948-2311 - to access medical help.”
Vietnam Veterans also pushed for recognition of toxicity of Dioxin. “The several defoliants (Agents Orange, Purple and White) used in Vietnam (and Korea and North Carolina) were damaging to humans,” said Martin. “Chromosomal aberrations, birth defects, cancers and system disorders are just some of the exposure risks and results. The decade long battle for threshold and standard modifications of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and exposure treatment and health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) finally was determined by a class action lawsuit against chemical manufacturers and a declaration of presumed exposure by the DVA. There was something wrong and the Vietnam Veterans found a way to help not only their fellow Veterans but all of us as well.”
“The war was fought by a strong group of allies – including America, Australia, South Korea, and Thailand,” said Martin. “Vietnam had known conflict and war for thousands of years. For centuries they were at war on and off with China, then in the 1940s the Japanese occupied Vietnam during World War II, followed by the French occupation.”
March 29th is the last day that combat troops left Vietnam. Many states passed resolutions for the recognition of Vietnam Veterans on that date, and in 2012, President Barack Obama declared the first national Vietnam Veterans Day on March 29. In March 2017, President Trump signed the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act, which forever commemorates March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
CONTACT: Office of the Mayor, (413) 772-1560 Upper Pioneer Valley Veteran’s Services, (413) 772-1571
VIETNAM VETERAN'S DAY CEREMONY
50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE TET OFFENSIVE
March 29th, 2018 11 a.m.
Greenfield Veterans' Mall
In case of inclement weather, ceremony will be held at the Greenfield Elks.
We encourage the public, Veterans of the Vietnam War, family members of the fallen, and other veterans to attend and show appreciation for those who served.
ORDER OF CEREMONY
Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
Moment of Silence
Reading of the Fallen from the District
Veterans are welcome to join us for lunch immediately after at the Elks, sponsored by the Building Bridges Veterans' Initiative.