(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

The United States is still expressing its appreciation to the American men and women who fought in Vietnam. But this has become more challenging.

The veterans are getting older, and the pandemic has taken its toll.

March 29 is National Vietnam War Veterans Day. Before the pandemic, Huntsville’s Chapter 1067 of the Vietnam Veterans of America would mark the observance with an annual welcome home celebration. The onset of COVID-19 in spring 2020 changed the world.

“Initially we were not going to have any kind of event because of the pandemic,” Charlie Miller, Chapter 1067 president, said of the plans for this year’s observance. “We decided to have a scaled-down version to recognize those guys who passed away during the pandemic.”

The scaled-down event, with welcome remarks but no scheduled speakers, is slated for 10 a.m. to noon at the Huntsville Madison County Veterans Memorial, 200 Monroe St.

At least 34 of the chapter’s members have died during the pandemic, according to Miller.

With 650 members, Chapter 1067 is the largest chapter in Alabama and ranks ninth nationally. Vietnam Veterans of America, based in Silver Springs, Maryland, has 85,000 members and 650 chapters.

The Daughters of the American Revolution will hold a tribute to Vietnam veterans March 29 from 2-3 p.m. at the public library downtown. Sue Shaver is regent for the Twickenham Town Chapter, NSDAR.

“Patriotism is one of the three missions of the Daughters of the American Revolution,” Dorla Evans, volunteer information specialist for Twickenham Town Chapter, NSDAR, said. “Most of us have loved ones who personally made sacrifices for the war or we made those sacrifices ourselves. We wish to ensure that those sacrifices are not forgotten.”

Editor’s note: This is the 361st in a series of articles about Vietnam veterans as the United States commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.