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Letter to the editor: People should honor those who served in Vietnam

Senate bill 2192 passed during the 2009 61st Legislative Assembly introduced by Sen. Robert Horne, D-Minot, and myself to designate March 29 as North Dakota Vietnam Veterans Day. Since our last soldiers were removed from Vietnam on March 29, 1975, the bill said each year the governor shall issue a proclamation on March 29 in honor and remembrance of surviving and departed Vietnam veterans, which includes the 198 North Dakota Vietnam veterans, whose names are listed at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C, and veterans who are or were missing in action or prisoners of war.

Some of the facts from the Vietnam era conflict include:

* Ninety-one percent of Vietnam veterans say they are glad to have served the U.S.

* 74 percent of Vietnam veterans said they would serve again, even with knowledge of the results.

* Five Americans killed in Vietnam were only 16 years old.

* The oldest American killed in Vietnam was 62 years old.

* One out of 10 Americans who served was a casualty.

* 75,000 Vietnam veterans were severely disabled.

* Vietnam veterans were the best educated forces our nation has ever sent to combat.

* Seventy-nine percent of Vietnam veterans had a high school education or better.

* Eighty-seven percent of Americans hold Vietnam veterans in high esteem.

* There were 151 Medal of Honor recipients.

* Eight females were killed in Vietnam.

* Following the Paris Peace Accords of 1973, 591 American prisoners of war were returned during Operation Homecoming.

There were 2.59 million American veterans who served in the country during the Vietnam era conflict. I want to ask everyone to take a moment of silence to remember the 58,282 Vietnam veterans killed during the war — especially the 198 from North Dakota — and the more than 2,600 Americans who remain unaccounted-for from the conflict.

The United States listed about 1,350 Americans as prisoners of war or missing in action and about 1,200 Americans were reported as killed in action and body not recovered. The National League of Families created the POW and missing in action flag in 1971 when the war was still in progress.

In closing, I want to thank our Vietnam veterans for serving the U.S., and I want to will all Vietnam veteran brothers and sisters a welcome home, which we never received.

Thank you, God bless America, God bless the great state of North Dakota and God bless all of our veterans who served.

(Marcellais, a Democrat, represents District 9 in the North Dakota Legislature.)