Vietnam War-Era Vets Honored At Special Ceremony

State Rep. Bob Wooley (R-Roswell). Courtesy photo
 
NMDVS News:
 
SANTA FE — Vietnam War-era veterans were honored June 18 at a special 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Commemoration Ceremony in Santa Fe at the Santa Fe Veterans Memorial.
 
The special ceremony was part of an ongoing nationwide initiative issued by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in 2008 urging states to honor America’s Vietnam War veterans, and to commemorate the pending 50th anniversary of our country’s involvement in the war. Though America’s involvement began in an advisory capacity as early as the late-1950’s, most historians point to 1965 as the start of America’s involvement in the war, when American troops began deploying to Vietnam. A 2012 Presidential Proclamation extended the commemoration through Veterans Day, 2025.
 
Saturdays ceremony was hosted through a collaborative effort by the New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services, the City of Santa Fe Veterans Advisory Board, the American Legion Riders Chapter 26, the Santa Fe National Cemetery, the Santa Fe Vet Center, the New Mexico State Council of the Vietnam Veterans of America, and Vietnam Veterans of America Northern New Mexico Chapter 996.
 
“During the Vietnam War, our returning service members were greeted with silence—or worse yet, with scorn–by a public not supportive of our service members serving in a war which sharply divided our country,” said New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services Deputy Secretary Alan Martinez in is Welcome Address. “But history now shows us that these men and women served with honor, dignity, and bravery when our nation came calling for their service. Today, we say ‘Welcome Home–and thank you for your service and sacrifice.”
 
Similar thanks and praise were echoed in remarks by Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales, New Mexico State Representative and Vietnam War Veteran Bob Wooley (R-Roswell), and former VA Deputy Assistant Secretary of Intergovernmental Affairs and ex-New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services Secretary John Garcia—who is also a Vietnam War veteran.
 
VA data indicates more than nine million Americans served in the military during this war era. The initiative recognizes all who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces during the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. It makes no distinction between veterans who served in-country, in-theater, or were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War era. All answered the call of duty.
 
More than 58,000 Americans were killed in action—including 398 from New Mexico.
 
After the ceremony, Vietnam War-era veterans in attendance were presented by the New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services with a certificate of appreciation for their service during the war, and also a special 50th Anniversary Commemorative Pin.
 
Similar commemoration ceremonies will be presented throughout the state in the coming years in an effort to reach out to as many Vietnam War-era veterans as possible.
 
Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales. Courtesy photo
 
NMDVS Deputy Secretary Alan Martinez. Courtesy photo
 
Courtesy photo
 
NMDVS employees giving out commemorative pins and Certificates of Appreciation. Courtey photo
 
NMDVS employees giving out commemorative pins and Certificates of Appreciation. Courtey photo
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