A letter from GEN Franks in honor of Vietnam Veterans Day 2024

By March 29, 2024Uncategorized

Honor and Remembrance Vietnam War Veterans Day Special and heartfelt greetings to all my fellow Vietnam War veterans and your families. 29 March is a national day of honor, remembrance, and gratitude for all of you and your families. This National Vietnam War Veterans Day was established by our nation in 2017 by legislation signed by President Trump on March 28, 2017, following a proclamation from President Obama designating May 28, 2012, to November 11, 2025, as commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.
I am humbled to be among my fellow Vietnam War veterans today and every day. And privileged and proud to call myself one of you. Today a grateful nation pauses to honor and remember those who served during Vietnam, to honor your service, valor, and sacrifice. We pause to honor and remember forever, those 58,318 fallen who gave in President Lincoln’s words ‘that last full measure of devotion’, those wounded who still carry visible and invisible wounds, our POWs, those missing in action, and our Gold Star families.
My own deepest thanks and greatest respect to all those who loyally answered our nation’s call with inspiring personal courage, skill, no quit tenacity, intense loyal devotion to each other and yes, selfless sacrifice. You served with inspiring personal courage in battle and skill equal to any generation in our military history, a generation my good friend and historian Col (Ret) Bob Sorley calls “also great.” I believe you left us all with a legacy and example of courage, selfless service and excellence that will forever endure.
Today, on this Vietnam War Veterans Day we reaffirm our most fundamental duties as citizens of the United States of America: to show all who have served in the armed forces of our nation during the Vietnam War the gratitude of a grateful nation and the respect and honor you have earned. I came to the conclusion a long time ago after I was seriously wounded and at US Army Valley Forge General Hospital among my fellow Vietnam War amputees that I strongly and fiercely believe that when our citizens serve in our armed forces by courageously swearing an oath of unlimited liability to support and defend our Constitution with their lives as that might be necessary, there is created an implied bond of trust that they can trust that we will be there for them when they come home and their duties and missions are complete, to be there for them to say thanks for their selfless service and sacrifice and to show that gratitude in ways that open opportunities for educational and employment opportunities, and in ways that provides them medical assistance for visible and invisible wounds as that might be needed and for as long as necessary.
That trust was fractured during and after the Vietnam War. We can never forget that fractured trust of years ago, but we can on this national holiday continue to resolve never to let that happen again. We all can, veterans and non-veterans alike reach out to each
other and as a nation, reach out with gratitude and honor to our Vietnam veterans for your selfless service and sacrifice. We can and must fulfill that trust to our Vietnam veterans and all those who have served and your families and to the Gold Star families of those who did
not come home.
In my own case, following extensive treatment and rehabilitation, I was permitted to remain on active duty, what I like to call life’s great privilege. In Desert Storm I was honored to command VII Corps in battle. Where every day and in battle I was inspired by
remembering my fellow Vietnam veterans and driven by doing what I could then and going forward to fulfill that bond of trust After the parade held in Washington DC in June 1991 following Desert Storm, there was one place my wife Denise and I wanted to go. The quiet
place of honor and remembrance. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The names of friends, relatives, fellow soldiers, those I served with in 2d Squadron 11th ACR Blackhorse, my 15 West Point classmates; never forgotten, never far away. This one was for you, too. Yes, the
memories of heroes honored there and to all those who served during Vietnam who should be forever proud of loyally answering our nation’s call, and of duty executed with honor, selfless sacrifice, skill, valor, and great personal courage. Thank you to all our fellow
citizens for remembering and honoring our Vietnam War veterans and their families today. On this National Vietnam War Veterans Day and every day, I remain humbled and proud to be one of you.

Thank you. Welcome Home!!

Very Respectfully,

Frederick M Franks, Jr.
General US Army (ret)