Hundreds of Veterans Attend Vietnam Veterans Day EventsMolly Hamilton Apr 10, 2017
More than 500 Vietnam War veterans attended the Vietnam Veterans Day events held at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum on March 29, 2017. The event was held on the 44th anniversary of the day United States troops left Vietnam. Unlike the first time they came home from service, on this day, veterans were welcomed home, thanked for their service and offered free admission along with members of their immediate families.
As an official partner of the Department of Defense 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the Vietnam War, Patriots Point museum employees offered official Vietnam War Veteran lapel pins to each veteran in attendance.
In addition, representatives from Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center were on hand to answer questions about various programs offered to veterans and their families.
At 1:30 p.m., hundreds gathered for a brief memorial service highlighted by guest speaker, Medal of Honor recipient Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston.
Livingston thanked the veterans for their service and talked about the “brotherhood” of veterans — both women and men — who gave their all for our country and worked hard to take care of each other during the war in Vietnam. He spoke directly about the importance of the 3-acre Vietnam Experience exhibit at Patriots Point saying, “What I want to do is keep your memory alive. When kids come and look at this Vietnam Experience, they will see your memory. Your service. And your sacrifice. They will see what you gave for our nation.”
Livingston reminded the veterans in attendance that “You gave it your best, and that’s all you can do.” In closing he thanked them all: “Thank you for being great Americans. And I’ve said it twice already, but I’m really pleased to be one of your brothers. God bless you, and Semper Fi.”
At the end of the service, Patriots Point employees and volunteers (who are also Vietnam veterans) placed a wreath in memory of the many lives lost in the Vietnam War, including 896 from South Carolina.
Afterward, visitors watched as the new theater in the quonset hut of the Vietnam Experience was officially opened with a ribbon cutting. The new theater offers first-hand accounts of veterans sharing their war experiences and provides a history of the Vietnam War.
More than 1,000 Vietnam Veterans and their family members attended the events at Patriots Point on Vietnam Veterans Day. Please see the gallery of photos below taken throughout the day (click twice on each photo to see a full-sized version):
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