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Americans unite to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. is an arresting reminder to its four million annual visitors of the service and sacrifice of the 58,300 Americans whose names are on "The Wall." On Memorial Day 2012, a poignant ceremony was held there to symbolize the beginning of a Congressionally authorized national commemoration; its primary focus: to thank and honor all Vietnam veterans and their families for their service, valor and sacrifice on behalf of a grateful nation.

During the ceremony, President Obama said "one of the most painful chapters in our history was Vietnam -- most particularly, how we treated our troops who served there. You were often blamed for a war you didn't start, when you should have been commended for serving your country with valor. You were sometimes blamed for misdeeds of a few, when the honorable service of the many should have been praised. You came home and sometimes were denigrated, when you should have been celebrated. It was a national shame, a disgrace that should not have happened. And that's why here today we resolve that it will not happen again."

The ceremony's genesis began in 2008. Congress passed Public Law 110-181ยง589 authorizing the Secretary of Defense to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and establish The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration.

Key to the Commemoration's plans to accomplish its primary objective is its hometown-centric Commemorative Partner Program. To date, approximately 7,000 organizations at the local, state and federal levels have committed to conducting events and activities in their local communities that recognize and honor Vietnam veterans and their families.

There are no costs associated with becoming a commemorative partner, and we heartily invite organizations to join the mix of dedicated local and national businesses, corporations, veterans and military organizations, associations, educational institutions, community groups, towns, cities and many others who have committed to assist the nation in this noble effort. Please visit VietnamWar50th.com or call (703) 697-4893 for more information about the Commemoration and the Commemorative Partner Program.

As veterans and Retired Soldiers, we encourage you to share this article and our contact information with organizations you believe might be interested in joining our Commemorative Partner Program. Additionally, as you connect with your circle of friends, please convey the thanks and gratitude of our nation to those who served during the Vietnam War.