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A Veterans Day Proclamation from 50 Years Ago

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Editor’s Note:  This weekend the U.S. observes Veterans Day. Those of us at AgingOptions and Life Point Law salute the men and women who have served our country courageously through times of war and peace. Veterans, we thank you for your service!

Fifty years ago, the American involvement in the war in Vietnam had recently drawn to a close, even though, for the people of that war-ravaged land, the suffering was far from over. On October 5, 1973, President Richard Nixon issued the traditional Veterans Day Proclamation, heralding what he called “the blessings of peace.” Today, as the veterans of the contentious and divisive Vietnam conflict are for the most part well into their 70s and 80s, it’s worth remembering the reception many of them experienced on returning from their Vietnam service, a reception too often marked by apathy and even hostility.

Vietnam vets, we send a hearty salute your way! You served well. This one is for you.

October 05, 1973

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

As America enjoys the blessings of peace for the first time in more than a dozen years, it is appropriate that we should pay special honor to those whose service helped us to achieve it.

We salute our veterans on a day of their own each year, a day on which we express our pride in them and our awareness of a debt to them which can never fully be repaid.

At no period in our history has there been more reason to call the Nation’s attention to the achievements of its veterans than today. Never before has peace been more welcome nor prospects for its permanence more substantial.

Now, Therefore, I, Richard Nixon, President of the United States of America, do hereby call on all Americans to join in observing Monday, October 22, 1973, as Veterans Day. I urge both public ceremony and private contemplation in recognition of the precious gifts of freedom and security that are ours because those we honor have stood in our defense.

Let us give special consideration on that day to those who have died in our Nation’s wars and those who have been disabled. Let this be a day of remembrance for those veterans who are in our hospitals, a day on which our appreciation is expressed tangibly by our visits and our attention.

Further, let this be a day on which all Americans take special cognizance of the needs of those young veterans who are currently readjusting to civilian life; let us give them personal help and encouragement.

I direct the appropriate officials of Government to arrange for the display of the flag of the United States on this day. I request officials of Federal, State and local governments to support its observance and I urge schools, churches, unions, civic and patriotic organizations to participate in appropriate public ceremonies throughout the Nation.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred seventy-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred ninety-eighth.

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