Commemorating the Vietnam War

Commemorating the Vietnam War

Sent by BG (USA-Ret) James M. Hesson
Member, Sarasota Chapter Military Officers Association of America

The following comments represent a personal plea to all addressees to support the commemoration.

In accordance with public law 110 – 181 Section 598, Congress authorized the Secretary of Defense to conduct a program to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and “in conducting the commemorative program, the secretary shall coordinate support and facilitate other programs and activities of the federal government state and local governments and other persons and organizations in commemoration of the Vietnam War.”

On 25 May 2012 the President of the United States of America issued a proclamation entitled “Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War” which stated in part; “Throughout this Commemoration let us strive to live up to their example by showing our Vietnam veterans, their families, and all who have served the fullest respect and support of a grateful nation.” More information may be found at .

A commemorative organization has been established within the Department of Defense. One of their major tasks is to enlist commemorative partners throughout the United States. These partners can include federal, State and local communities, veterans organizations and other nongovernmental organizations to assist a grateful nation and thanking and honoring our Vietnam veterans and their
families commemorative partners are encouraged to participate in the commemoration of the Vietnam War by planning and conducting events and activities that will recognize the Vietnam Veterans and their families services and sacrifices. I am currently working with LTC (Ret) Tom Piazza, (the driving force behind the Sarasota primary school system Flag Initiative and the June 14th (Flag Day) event at the

Patriot Plaza “Celebrating the Stars & Stripes”) to provide dialogue for the celebration attendees to increase awareness of the Vietnam War commemoration. At 8 PM, Tuesday, 28 April 2015, a two hour PBS special entitled “Last Days of Vietnam” will be aired.

This two hour special Chronicles the end of our military involvement in Vietnam. It is fitting program to view as we enter the Vietnam War Commemoration period. The airing date is significant because it will be exactly 40 years to the date, that Saigon was being evacuated. Please pass the word!

On Friday, 17 July 2015, Vice Admiral (Retired) Larry Chambers, will be the guest speaker for the Sarasota MOAA luncheon to be held at Michael’s on East. In 1975 as Saigon was falling, Admiral Chambers, then a Captain and the Commanding Officer of the USS Midway aircraft carrier, participated in “Operation Frequent Wind,” the final phase in the evacuation of American civilians and "at-risk" Vietnamese from Saigon, South Vietnam prior to the takeover of the city by the North Vietnamese Army (PAVN) in the Fall of Saigon. It was carried out on 29–30 April 1975, during the last days of the Vietnam War. More than 7,000 people were evacuated by helicopter from various points in Saigon.

I ask all of the recipients of this message to do whatever you can do to publicize the Vietnam War Commemoration. I intend to be at the next meeting of the Sarasota Veterans Commission meeting on 28 May 2015 at the American Legion Post number 159 in Venice, Florida to solicit their support to have Sarasota County and the cities contained therein to become commemorative partners and honor of all of the service members who served during the Vietnam era.