Delco re:View Spring 2018 - 22

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O

The Salute
They Are Due

n March 28, 2017, the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam
War, President Donald J. Trump signed Public Law Act
115-15, the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act, to
declare March 29 annually as Vietnam War Veterans Day. The act
mandated the U.S. Flag be flown on this day in honor of Vietnam
War Veterans. The day commemorates the date when the last
U.S. troops left the southeastern Asian country 45 years ago.
Some people refer to the day as "Welcome Home Day," to shed
light on the fact that many who served in the Vietnam War were
never properly and honorably welcomed home after serving.
Some Vietnam Veterans have a less-than-enthusiastic view
of the national day, as many veterans do not want to honor
specific dates of the many unjust wars like Vietnam, Iraq and
Afghanistan. They prefer to honor the role of our active duty
military and our veterans of all wars. There are others eager to
learn more about the national day to commemorate Vietnam War
Veterans.
The federal March 29 Welcome Home Day not only seeks
to recognize Vietnam Veterans, but also is aimed to educate
Americans about one of the nation's most emotionally charged
wars. Soldiers in the Vietnam War Era, from Aug. 5, 1964 to
May 7, 1975, saw about 240 days of combat in one year, thanks
to the mobility of the helicopter. In comparison, the average
infantryman in the South Pacific during World War II saw about
40 days of combat in four years. One out of every 10 Americans
who served in Vietnam was a casualty. Among the 9.5 million
who served between 1955 and 1975, 58,253 were killed and
153,363 suffered non-fatal wounds, according to the Department
of Defense. The average age of the estimated 7 million Vietnam
Veterans still living will be 70 this summer. Welcome Home
Vietnam Veterans Day remembrances in March are meant to pay
tribute to those who fought in the war that everyone, decades
ago, wanted to forget.
The Pennsylvania Veterans Museum in Media honors those
who served in Vietnam and commemorates their service each and
every day of the year. The Vietnam War Veterans Exhibit, opened

22 | Spring 2018

in December 2017, is a very moving and emotional exhibit to
Vietnam veterans and non-veterans alike. The museum, totally
staffed by volunteers, features life-size photos of Vietnam
veterans, along with poignant quotes and video. A touch-screen
monitor, containing a series of 16 video interviews of local
Vietnam veterans who participated in all phases of the Vietnam
War, is available for viewing.
Each of the interviews included in the exhibit tells an
impactful and powerful story. One of the interviewees is with
retired Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald
Castille, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps and was wounded
in Vietnam. Another interviewee is Ralph Galati, a former
POW in North Vietnam who was a pilot in the US Air Force.
Interviewee Bob McMahon, U.S. Army and mayor of Media,
speaks of the humanitarian efforts he and his fellow American
soldiers proudly accomplished in Vietnam.
The exhibit is historical, but mostly reflective of the veterans'
experiences during those years. It touches the human element
of this war, with stories and experiences of real people. The
Vietnam War impacted every aspect of American culture; people
were disillusioned by it and it dragged on with no apparent
purpose. Somewhere along the line, it lost its meaning; WWII
unified the country behind it, but with Vietnam, there was no
clean beginning and clean ending; people were more divided.
"The veterans are our heroes through all of this. There were
incredible acts of bravery and courage; many unknown, most
cannot be imagined. At the Museum, we wanted to recognize
this in our exhibit. We want people to know what the soldiers
went through, what they experienced." *
Ed Buffman Jr., Creator & Designer, Vietnam War Exhibit.
2016 Recipient of the Delaware County Bar Association's
Themis Award ... To an individual who has performed
outstanding service which has engendered great respect for
the law.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Delco re:View Spring 2018

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