The Utah House voted 68-0 on Tuesday to honor Vietnam War veterans every March 29 — the anniversary of when the last U.S. troops left that Southeast Asian country.
As a group of aging veterans watched, wiped tears and saluted from the gallery, the House passed HB275 and sent it to the Senate to create the annual Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day.
"These guys are heroes," said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, wiping tears himself. "Let’s get to final closure."
Oda said such veterans deserve the special observance because that war was "the only conflict this nation has ever been in where returning soldiers were not appreciated." He said many were derided as "baby killers" and "considered second-class citizens for defending our nation."
That day of recognition would join other annual state observances that include: Bill of Rights Day on Dec. 15; Constitution Day on Sept. 17; Yellow Ribbon Day the third Monday of every May to honor those serving in the military; POW/MIA Day the third Friday in September; Indigenous People’s Day the Monday before Thanksgiving; and Utah State Flag Day on March 9.
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.