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Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center

 

Ralph H. Johnson VA Center honors Vietnam veterans

Charleston VAMC Director Scott Isaacks thanks a Vietnam Veteran for his service after presenting him with a commerative pin.

Charleston VAMC Director Scott Isaacks thanks a Vietnam Veteran for his service after presenting him with a commemorative pin.

By Scott R. Isaacks, Director, Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
Monday, March 28, 2016

In May 2012, on Memorial Day, President Barack Obama called for the Federal Government to partner with organizations and communities across America to participate in the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. To mirror the length of this harsh conflict, a long commemoration period is planned to continue through Veterans Day 2025. The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center is a proud Commemorative Partner and the employees here are committed to honoring the service and sacrifice of the Vietnam-era Veterans we are privileged to serve each and every day.

At Charleston VA, we gratefully accept the task of providing high-quality health care and support to Veterans of all wars and eras. During this commemorative period, however, we are honored to pay tribute to those service members who faced unseen enemies in a challenging environment halfway around the world during the Vietnam War. We open our arms to embrace those who did not receive a hero's welcome. We remember the more than 58,000 military members who paid the ultimate price for freedom by laying down their lives in Vietnam, including our namesake Pfc. Ralph H. Johnson. And we hold a torch for those who have still yet to return home.

On Tuesday, March 22, members of our executive leadership team here at Charleston VA joined active-duty military personnel in the front lobby of our medical center to hand out special Vietnam 50th Commemorative lapel pins and offer a personal "thank you" to more than 400  Vietnam-era Veterans. This event served as a kick-off to an upcoming period of remembrance events focused on paying tribute to the selfless and dedicated service of our local Vietnam Veterans.

This Tuesday, March 29, we will hold similar events at all of our community based outpatient clinics and offsite locations. I encourage all of our Veterans who donned a military uniform during Vietnam, whether you served in theater or supported the war effort stateside or elsewhere, to join us in either Savannah, Myrtle Beach, Beaufort, Hinesville, Goose Creek or at our Trident Annex in North Charleston to receive your commemorative pin. Our VA looks forward to offering you, in our small way, the welcome home you deserve from a grateful nation.

We will continue our recognition of area Vietnam Veterans on May 7 with our "Welcome Home Salute: A Night with The Miracles." This concert is free to Veterans and will feature Motown performing group, The Miracles, with a special appearance by comedian Tommy Chun. Attendees will enjoy a motorcycle ride-in to start the festivities, which will also include a Veteran health and resource fair, and a special Vietnam remembrance ceremony prior to the concert.

In November, Charleston VA and our partners at Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum, will host a special Vietnam War symposium aboard the USS Yorktown devoted not only to honoring the Vietnam heroes living among us, but also teaching our next generation of informed citizens - our school children - about the storied history of this war and the brave men and women who defended our nation during its course.

These events are our humble way of expressing our appreciation to a generation of service members who answered their country's call to duty and endured more than a decade of combat to uphold the freedoms and ideals we as Americans so enjoy.

With heartfelt gratitude and respect,

Scott Isaacks, FACHE
Director, Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
Charleston, South Carolina

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