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Posted on: March 31, 2023

Vietnam War Veterans Day Message

A veterans memorial located in Downtown Clarksville

Vietnam War Veterans Day Message

CLARKSVILLE, TN - Today, on National Vietnam War Veterans Day, we remember the lives of those American Armed Service members and their families who sacrificed so much during the Vietnam Conflict.

According to 2021 census data, Clarksville-Montgomery County is home to over 27,000 veterans, over 4,000 of whom served during the Vietnam War. Montgomery County ranks in the top four percent of all military veteran populations in the U.S.

"The war in Vietnam was both difficult and divisive.  We were too slow to recognize the bravery of those who died in that war, and those who returned to less than a proper hero’s welcome home.  Let us ensure that wrong is righted every day we see a Vietnam Veteran,” said Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts.

“And to the over 300 veterans employed by the City of Clarksville, thank you not only for your military service, but for your continued contributions to the city employee family. Clarksville would not be the same without you.”

Before being appointed by Mayor Pitts as Chief of Staff, former captain and Clarksville native James Halford served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War era. 

“As a USAF R.O.T.C. scholarship cadet during the mid-70s, it was at times very disheartening to experience the epithets and disrespect hurled towards us by fellow students and other protesters simply because I, and others, had chosen to step forward if needed,” said Chief Halford. 

“Two of my schoolmates from Burt High School had volunteered and had made the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. I was commissioned in 1974 and in the middle of USAF flight school in May 1975.  We were placed on ‘heightened alert status’ when the Mayaguez incident took place between Kampuchea (now Cambodia) and the United States. Although we weren’t called upon it was still very fulfilling to finally feel and see the appreciation of our fellow Americans and know the lives of my two schoolmates had not been given in vain,” he said.

Wreaths Across America

According to Angie Sykes, Manager of the City’s Riverview Cemetery, at least 49 veterans who served in Vietnam are interred at Riverview. They are among the 300-plus veterans honored annually through Wreaths Across America.

This year’s ceremony will be held on Dec. 16. Riverview Cemetery is currently seeking volunteers and accepting wreath sponsorships for the event. More information can be found here.

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