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Vietnam veterans in CNMI get congressional tribute

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Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) hands a congressional tribute to one of the Vietnam veterans present at the American Memorial Park for the Veterans Day ceremonies last Friday. (Michael T. Santos)

Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) hands a congressional tribute to one of the Vietnam veterans present at the American Memorial Park for the Veterans Day ceremonies last Friday. (Michael T. Santos)

Vietnam veterans of the Marianas received a special tribute from Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) during Veterans Day ceremonies last Friday. Part of the Veterans Day program was dedicated to the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

“It’s been 50 years since the conflict ended in Vietnam, and our gratitude to those who served is long overdue,” Sablan said. “This tribute in the Congressional Record is a way of honoring and thanking Vietnam veterans for their service. It’s also a way of saying, ‘Welcome home.’”

The tribute recognizes the 58,220 who died in combat in Vietnam, the 7.2 million veterans still alive today, and the 9 million who served.

“Vietnam was a long and complicated conflict, and many veterans of that era came home to communities that did not always welcome them, or fully understand the depth of their sacrifice,” Sablan said. “But the nation has changed since then, in large part because of the example and advocacy of Vietnam veterans. This generation of veterans taught us to honor, respect, and support all our men and women who put themselves in harm’s way in service to our nation.”

The congressional tribute also highlights the military service of dozens of young men from the Northern Mariana Islands who enlisted or were drafted into the U.S. Armed Forces years before the islands became part of the U.S., and before island residents became U.S. citizens.

Because homes of record at the time were listed under Guam or other states, there is no official record of exactly who and how many from the Northern Marianas were called to serve during the Vietnam era.

“We know of four from the Northern Marianas who died in combat in Vietnam. We also know that more than 50 Vietnam veterans are still with us today. They are Chamorro and Refaluwasch from these islands, and veterans from all over the United States who now call the Marianas their home.

“On this 50th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, we thank the veterans of that era today, and every day, for their service to our country,” Sablan said. “And we recommit ourselves to the solemn promise to do more to support all our veterans, service members, and their families, in both peacetime and war.”

The 50th commemoration recognizes all Vietnam veterans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty from Nov. 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975, regardless of duty location. By presidential proclamation on May 25, 2012, the commemoration extends from Memorial Day on May 28, 2012, through Veterans Day on Nov.r 11, 2025.

Approximately 30 Vietnam veterans participated in Friday’s 50th anniversary commemoration ceremonies held on Saipan and Tinian, and received copies of the congressional tribute. The names called at the ceremonies were provided by the Mayor’s Offices, which asked Vietnam veterans to register ahead of time and identify themselves at the events. Not all registered veterans attended the ceremonies, however, and there may be names missing from the lists provided.

Sablan encourages all Vietnam veterans or their surviving family members who did not receive a copy of the tribute to contact the congressional offices at Kilili@mail.house.gov, (670) 323-2647 (Saipan); (670) 433-2647 (Tinian); (670) 532 -2647 (Rota); or (202) 225 -2646 (Washington). Copies may be picked up at the congressional offices on Saipan, Tinian, or Rota, or delivered personally or by mail upon request.

Press Release
News under Press Release are official statements issued to Saipan Tribune giving information on a particular matter.

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