On Friday, March 29, we will commemorate National Vietnam War Veterans Day to thank and honor our nation’s Vietnam veterans and their families for the service and sacrifice they gave to our country. We are particularly grateful for the service and sacrifice of our Hoosier Vietnam veterans. Of the more than 400,000 veterans in Indiana, 34 percent of them served during the Vietnam War.

Established just two years ago, National Vietnam War Veterans Day honors all active duty U.S. armed forces personnel who served between Nov. 1, 1955, and May 15, 1975, regardless of where they served. More than 9 million Americans served during that time, 2.7 million of them in the country of Vietnam. Seven million are still living today. The names of 58,000 are memorialized on a black granite wall in our nation’s capital. During the war, 304,000 were wounded; 2,500 were taken as prisoners of war, and 1,253 missing in action (MIA) heroes have not yet returned home.

At the Indiana Department of Veterans’ Affairs, we are dedicated to ensuring our veterans receive the recognition, gratitude, care and benefits they deserve. In partnership with many wonderful organizations across the state and country that support veterans and particularly Vietnam veterans, we help connect our veterans to the many benefits and services available to them — such as employment assistance, education and training, tuition benefits for veterans’ children, tax deductions, medical care, mortgage assistance, disability compensation, honorary license plates and more.

Friday, and every day, we want our Hoosier Vietnam veterans to know we are here for them and we welcome them home. Alongside the Daughters of the American Revolution Friday from 11:30 a.m. to noon, we will celebrate Hoosier Vietnam veterans and Indiana’s 51 Vietnam War missing in action at a Bricks of Honor ceremony at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument at Monument Circle in Indianapolis. All Vietnam veterans and their families, along with the families of our MIA veterans, are welcome to attend.

We are proud of our state’s Vietnam veterans, and we are honored to support and work with them every day. To our veterans reading this, I want you to know we are here to support you and connect you with the benefits and services created for you. Please reach out to us.

On National Vietnam War Veterans Day Friday, we invite all Hoosiers to recognize Vietnam veterans’ service to our nation and proudly continue to welcome them home.

Dennis Wimer, Indiana Department of Veterans’ Affairs director

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