Hundreds of North Carolina citizens, civic leaders, and NC Guardsmen welcomed over 100 Vietnam Veterans to Joint Force Headquarters during a Vietnam Veterans Commemoration event in Raleigh on Monday, April 1st as a part of the National Vietnam War Commemoration program.
The keynote speaker for the event was Medal of Honor recipient retired Col. Walter J. Marm who served in Vietnam with 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). In 1965, Marm took part in the Battle of Ia Drang and was later awarded the Medal of Honor his actions during the battle.
In 2002, the movie “We Were Soldiers”, starring Mel Gibson, told the story of Marm’s unit during the Battle of Ia Drang, the first major battle between the North Vietnamese Army and the United States military.
Marm spoke to over 400 attendees about his experience in Vietnam and how important days like today are to honor and thank fellow veterans who served during a difficult time in our nation’s history.
“I wear the Medal of Honor for all the men and women who served in Vietnam,” said Marm. “Most of all, for those who did not come home and those who are still unaccounted for.”
“We live in the greatest country in the world, because of our military, and I salute say thank you to all veterans and current serving Guardsmen, Reservists and active duty service members,” Marm said in closing.
On behalf of Governor Cooper, Secretary Larry Hall, N.C. Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, and Secretary Erik Hooks, NC Department of Public Safety, were in attendance and each spoke to the audience about the importance in honoring and remembering Vietnam veterans for the service and sacrifice.
The Commemoration event was hosted by the NC National Guard and brought many veterans groups to JFHQ including the USO of North Carolina, the NC National Guard Association and the Disabled American Veterans organization (DAV).
The USO Show Troupe from New York City provided entertainment during the event.
The final portion of the program invited all Vietnam Veterans to the stage to receive a Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin.
Lunch, provided by the North Carolina National Guard Association and the USO, was served following the event.
On March 28, 2017, President Trump signed into law The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017, establishing The National Vietnam War Veterans Day that will be celebrated each year on March 29.
According to the Department of Defense, there have been over 1,600 Vietnam Commemoration events in many states across the nation since March 29th to honor and thank U.S. Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifices.
NC National Guard Photos