The Vietnam War began more than 50 years ago, and many local communities have taken to honoring the veterans who served there through various events. The National Vietnam Veterans Foundation explained that more than 2.7 million Americans served in Vietnam during this war, while nearly 60,000 gave their lives for their country. Now, five decades later, nonprofit organizations, businesses, government agencies and others are working to ensure veterans know they are appreciated. 

In 2008, the federal government passed a portion of the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act to ensure that a commemoration would take place for veterans of the Vietnam War, and ceremonies are taking place planned across the nation as a result. The Vietnam War Commemoration's official website states that there are 5,256 events that have already occurred or will soon, while more than 9,700 partners have been involved in the project. One ceremony was recently held in Boston, Massachusetts. 

A long time coming
The Boston Globe recently reported that the VA Medical Center in Jamaica Plain, a neighborhood in Boston, conducted a commemorative event to honor Vietnam War Navy veteran John Wilkinson for his service. According to the news provider, the ceremony also brought together 59 other local veterans and was part of the national Vietnam War Commemoration. Individuals involved in the planning of the event spoke to the importance of such ceremonies. 

"This is an opportunity for us to stop for a moment and acknowledge the sacrifice and the things that they did for this country," VA Regional Benefits Office director Bradley Mayes told The Boston Globe. "They really paved the way for generations of veterans that came after them."

The source noted that this particular war was not popular among civilians back home, and that many veterans returned to hostile conditions stateside taking place. However, The Boston Globe pointed out that Vincent Ng, system director for VA Boston Healthcare, argued that these ceremonies are a great way to right those wrongs.

"It was a controversial time," Ng told the news provider. "Today's ceremony really makes all of us feel better, and feel good that they are not lost; that we remember them, and officially welcome them home."

More to come in Baltimore
The Baltimore Sun reported that Maryland held a series of commemoration events on March 29 to memorialize and recognize local veterans. As of 2014, the source stated that an estimated 130,000 veterans of the Vietnam War were living in Maryland, which is why the state hosted so many events, including ones in Baltimore, Rockville, Easton, Friendsville and Frederick. 

More ceremonies will take place through 2025 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, and parties interested in contributing to the events can do so through the official website. Additionally, local VA organizations can likely provide other opportunities to become a part of the national project.