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Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder formally recognized and remembered Vietnam Veterans leading into the 40th anniversary of the withdrawal of troops.
On March 30, 1973, President Richard Nixon began withdrawing combat troops from Vietnam. Between 1961 and 1975, more than 49,000 Tennesseans served in Southeast Asia. Approximately 6,000 Tennessee troops were wounded in the Vietnam War and 1,289 Tennessee service members were killed.
Haslam publically signed a Vietnam Veterans Day Proclamation, which proclaims March 29 as a day of remembrance and recognition for veterans who served in the military during the Vietnam War. Haslam presented the proclamation to Vietnam Veterans of America Tennessee State Council President Barry Rice on behalf of all Vietnam Veterans. In 2008, Tennessee became the first state to proclaim a Vietnam Veterans Day.
“The State of Tennessee pauses to remember lives lost and publically recognize those who came home to a lifetime of challenges after the Vietnam War,” Haslam said. “As the 40th anniversary approaches it is important to thank Tennessee’s Vietnam Veterans for their service and sacrifice.”
“The wounds of the Vietnam War are still fresh for many of our veterans,” Grinder said. “We hope remembrance and recognition from ceremonies such as this one will lead to continued healing for veterans scarred by combat and rejection.”
“We are honored to receive the public support of Governor Haslam and to feel the support of the State of Tennessee,” Rice said. “Support and encouragement is the greatest gift of gratitude Vietnam Veterans can receive to continue the healing process.”
Vietnam Veterans Sen. Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) and Rep. John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge) co-sponsored Senate Joint Resolution 0183 to commemorate Vietnam Veterans Day and the 40th anniversary of the withdrawal of troops from Vietnam.