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Vietnam War Veterans 50th Year Commemoration

Paul Russo, director of the Miami VA Healthcare System, left, smiling and the words

On behalf of all of us at the Miami VA Healthcare System, thank you. As we continue to honor Vietnam Veterans Day each March 29, I hope all of us take a moment to remember those who left the comfort of their homes and families to serve our country.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Vietnam War is a story of service members from every corner of our Nation who braved the jungles, rivers and enemies, only to put themselves into harm's way to save the men on his left and right. It is also the story of injuries, PTSD, Agent Orange and memories that still burn brightly decades later. Ultimately, more than 58,000 laid down their lives in service to our Nation. Now and forever, their names are etched into black granite, a lasting memorial to all who reflect on war’s greatest cost.

It was March 29, 1973, when the last of the Veterans who answered our country's call left Vietnam. More than 50 years later, we continue to fulfill our most fundamental obligation: to give all who have worn the uniform of the United States the respect and dignity they deserve, and to serve them as honorably as they served us.

At the Miami VA Healthcare System, which serves Veterans living in Monroe, Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, we serve nearly 20,000 Vietnam Veterans a year. This generation of men and women has, for so long, borne the scars of battles fought not with the clear cause of World War II, but in the shadow of uncertainty both at home and abroad. They are the backbone of our communities; they are our neighbors, business owners, coworkers, parents and grandparents. They deserve our respect and thanks, and it is our honor at the Miami VA to serve these heroes every day.

Vietnam Veterans hold a special place locally, as our main medical center is named in memory of Medal of Honor recipient Marine Corps Pfc. Bruce W. Carter, who heroically saved his fellow Marines while on patrol in Vietnam at the cost of his own life. This sacrifice is a testament to the heroism of our men and women in the military and serves as a reminder of the obligation we have in helping all Veterans return to civilian life successfully.

Across the Nation, VA facilities will be honoring Vietnam Veterans at ceremonies where we hope our Veterans will feel the appreciation they earned so long ago in service to their country. Due to their sacrifice, we have learned so much about what it means to truly be thankful for service, and serve those who have served. All generations of Veterans who have come after these Vietnam Veterans owes them a debt of gratitude for ensuring that this nation never forgets the sacrifice that comes with standing on the front line of freedom.

On behalf of all of us at the Miami VA Healthcare System, thank you. As we continue to honor Vietnam Veterans Day each March 29, I hope all of us take a moment to remember those who left the comfort of their homes and families to serve our country.

Veterans are encouraged to contact VA to learn more about the benefits they earned. Veterans can visit www.miami.va.gov to learn more about VA health care options in South Florida, or www.va.gov to learn about all the services VA provides to Veterans.

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