Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly and Chuck Hagel, a Vietnam War veteran, former U.S. Senator, and former U.S. Secretary of Defense, discussed the importance of giving our Vietnam War veterans the welcome home they deserve but that many didn’t receive after the war. On Thursday, March 29, 2018, Donnelly will host an event at Plainfield High School for families, friends, members of the community, and all veterans of other eras, to honor our nearly 150,000 Hoosier Vietnam War veterans.
Donnelly said, in part, “We are so lucky to have Secretary Hagel here. Everything you [Vietnam War veterans] did, you brought honor and glory to our country…God bless all of you. Thank you for protecting our nation and our country and God Bless America.”
Chuck Hagel, former Secretary of Defense, said, in part, “Joe, I’d like to congratulate you and thank you for your leadership on getting this special day of recognition for Vietnam veterans set aside…Also, Joe, [I’d like] to say to my fellow Vietnam veterans and their families: thank you. Thank you for what you’ve done for our country, the kind of lives that you’ve led since you’ve come back. You are role modeling for the next generation. And I’m very proud to be one of you, and part of that effort…I think Vietnam veterans served as honorably as any group of veterans in the history of our country.”
WATCH: Donnelly and former Defense Secretary Hagel discuss importance of the Vietnam War Veterans Day event the Senator is hosting in Indiana on March 29, 2018.
Bipartisan legislation authored by Donnelly and Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) permanently designating March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day was signed into law by President Trump in March of 2017. The inaugural National Vietnam Veterans Day was celebrated on March 29, 2017.
Doors open at Plainfield High School at 6 PM for a veteran resource fair and the ceremony will begin at 7 PM. To learn more about the event you can visit www.donnelly.senate.gov.
BACKGROUND: The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act:
- Was passed unanimously by both chambers of Congress in 2017.
- It permanently designates March 29th annually as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
- On March 29, 1973, the last combat troops were ordered out of Vietnam. While many troops remained behind before the fall of Saigon – March 29 holds great meaning for many Vietnam veterans.
- The day of recognition means March 29th is a day “the flag should be displayed.”
Transcript of Donnelly and Hagel’s video statement:
Donnelly: Hi, I’m Joe Donnelly and I have a special guest. He served in the United States Army in Vietnam, did an amazing job there. He also served as a United States Senator and served as the Secretary of Defense, as well. Chuck Hagel, welcome home.
Hagel: Joe, thank you very much. Joe, first I want to congratulate you and thank you for your leadership on getting this special day of recognition for Vietnam veterans set aside. Also to say to my fellow Vietnam veterans and their families: thank you. Thank you for what you have done for our country, the kind of lives that you’ve led since you’ve came back. You’re role modeling for the next generation, and I am very proud to be one of you and part of that effort. I know it was difficult when we first came back, Joe, but things do right, and I think over the years, the American people have learned that the right thing to do is to separate the war from the warrior. We didn’t have anything to do or any say in that war, but we went and we served and we did what our country wanted us to do and I think Vietnam veterans served as honorably as any group of veterans in the history of our country. So, to all of you, again, thank you for giving me an opportunity to be with you here to participate in this really special, special day in Indiana.
Donnelly: Thank you so much. We are so lucky to have Secretary Hagel with us. Everything you did, you brought honor and glory to our country. And the Secretary said his biggest regret is that he can’t be there shaking hands with you and comparing stories with you and telling a few fish stories, as well, about the times. So God bless all of you. Thank you for protecting our nation and our country and God Bless America.