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Public Statements

Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Ms. LINDA T. SÁNCHEZ of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support for ``Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans' Day 2012.''

We do not have to walk far from the doors of this building to be reminded of the bravery that so many of our young men and women have shown in defense of this country over the last 236 years. Statues, monuments, and other symbols of American freedom color our horizon and tell the stories of the veterans who served, sacrificed, and gave so much for the country they loved.

As a nation, we honor those who defend us with memorials, holidays, and parades. But, as a people, we have not always fulfilled our duty to properly recognize those fellow citizens who put themselves in harm's way to keep us safe and protect our freedoms.

Unfortunately, we failed in this duty to our Vietnam veterans. They came home to a time of civil unrest and social turmoil--a time when opposition to the war too easily turned into opposition against those young men and women who served in that war.

Too many service members returned from the brutality of war, not recognized for their courage, their honor, and their sacrifice.

The harsh greeting that met too many veterans in addition to the life changing trials of war, made an already difficult transition to civilian life even harder.

The communities that could have supported those who were reeling from the trauma of loss were not always available. When these veterans needed someone to lend an ear, or a helping hand, too many found a cold shoulder.
By encouraging Americans to observe ``Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day,'' my resolution seeks to provide these heroes the welcome home that they always deserved, but too many never received.

``Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day'' is the culmination of years of effort on the part of my constituent Jose Ramos, himself a Vietnam veteran.
As an Army Combat Medic in Vietnam, Jose Ramos was victim to the indifferent and often hostile public reaction when he returned home. It was his personal experiences, and those of his fellow GIs, that motivated him to work toward establishing a national day of recognition. His work inspired many, including me, to help give Vietnam veterans their long overdue ``welcome home.''

While today's resolution may seem like a small gesture--and when compared to what our soldiers and their families sacrificed, it certainly is--it will serve to remind us of their service to our country.

Although there may be differing opinions on foreign policies and the popularity of certain military actions may vary, all American voices should rise in unison when it comes time to thank those who risk everything for the defense of the American people.

I urge my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, to join in honoring Vietnam veterans by participating in Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day events in their communities next year.

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