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Vietnam Veterans Recognition

by Minden Press-Herald

Dorcheat-Bistineau Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, the American Legion Wiley-Peavy Post #74, and Hunter Rickerson VFW Post #2885 and Auxiliary are sponsoring an Armed Forces Day of Recognition with special guests being those who served in the Vietnam War.

On May 20, 2023, a ceremony will be held at 10:00 a.m. with the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Highway sign which will be placed at mile marker 40 on I-20 two miles east of Goodwill Road Exit.

The celebration will continue at the American Legion Hall in Minden.  A free lunch will be served  and provided by Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and former Senator Ryan Gatti. The program to honor our Armed Forces will begin at noon with a special recognition of Vietnam veterans honoring the 50 year anniversary of the Presidential Proclamation for the departure of American troops from Vietnam.

America’s involvement in the conflict in Vietnam began twenty years prior to President John F. Kennedy sending the first large force of U. S. military personnel to support the ineffectual regime of South Vietnam in 1961. Those in the U. S. government feared a tipping of power if the communist incursion by North Vietnam was not stopped. By 1964 the South Vietnamese government was crumbling, and President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered limited bombing raids on North Vietnam. A year later the North Vietnamese offensives forced President Johnson into a choice: either escalate the U. S. military involvement or withdraw.  Johnson chose to involve our military even deeper than previously, and soon troop levels jumped to 300,000 with the U.S. Air Force beginning the largest bombing campaign in history. 

The war dragged on and the dissatisfaction in America with the U. S. involvement, the high number of casualties, and the revealing of U.S. involvement with war crimes caused much opposition to the war.  By 1969, the protests against the war escalated while the number of U.S. troops reached nearly 550,000 in Vietnam. When President Richard Nixon took office he began troop withdrawal but intensified bombing. President Nixon expanded air and ground operations into Cambodia and Laos hoping to block enemy supply routes.  There were few positive results of this campaign, and protests escalated in America. Vietnam became the war we could not win, and U. S. citizens wanted our troops out of the country. In an effort to end America’s eight year involvement in Vietnam, representatives of the U. S., North and South Vietnam and the Vietcong met in Paris in early January 1973 to enter into peace talks. Known as the Paris Peace Accords the formal title was the “Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam” which was signed on January 27.  On March 29, 1973, the last American military unit left Vietnam.

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