Army partners with Vietnam War Commemoration
June 19, 2013
By Alex Dixon
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, 06 19, 2013) -- During a ceremony that marked the newly-formed partnership between the Army and the United States Vietnam War Commemoration, Lt. Gen. Raymond Mason, Army G-4, recounted the story of when his father, also an Army officer, was instructed to attack a village during the Vietnam War.
His father refused then, resulting in a no-casualty report for what he told Mason would surely have been a disaster.
"If I was put in a situation like that," Mason said. "I hope I would have the guts to do what he did."
Mason represents the U.S. Army as one of many commemorative partners that will be involved in officially recognizing and commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.
In May 2012, President Barack Obama signed a proclamation, officially declaring a more than 13-year period, from May 28, 2012 to Nov. 11, 2025, as the "Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War." In that proclamation, he called upon local, state and federal officials to take part in honoring veterans of the Vietnam War.
The Army, represented by Mason, is the first military service to sign on as a partner of the commemoration.
Retired Lt. Gen. Claude M. Kicklighter serves as the director of the United States Vietnam War Commemoration. During the June 19 ceremony in the Pentagon, he presented to Mason a Vietnam War Commemorative Partner Certificate and flag, marking the Army's official partnership status.
As the first commemorative partner in the Pentagon, and first representing any branch of service, Mason said it is important for service members to learn from stories like those told to him by his father, and to also preserve them through their retelling.
"It's understanding what kind of things [veterans] go through in combat and what lessons we can learn," Mason said. "Few things in the military have been done for the first time."
Mason said commemorating the veterans and promoting and preserving their stories can help with both war tactics and the human side, such as post-traumatic stress or traumatic brain injuries.
Vietnam War veteran and Army logistics management specialist, Richard Dianich, attended the ceremony and said the commemoration is important in preserving information about the war and is especially important now because it has been 50 years.
Dianich was drafted into the war and has remained either serving or working for the Army since Vietnam.
"I was an unsuccessful Ph.D candidate in chemistry, but I knew how to fly really well, so I stayed with the Army," Dianich said.
Mason and the Army are now among 4,600 organizations to join the list of commemorative partners with the American Vietnam War Commemoration, which was congressionally chartered.
"This is a multi-year event that was opened last year and will last until 2025," Mason said about the Commemoration's plans. "We're shooting for 10,000 commemorative partners throughout the United States."
The Commemoration's partners will organize ceremonies and outreach events to honor Vietnam veterans and their families throughout the next 12 years.