Stephen Doherty
2022-2023 National Americanism Ambassador

VFWA Headshots 2022

National Vietnam War Veterans Day

Join us on March 29, National Vietnam War Veterans Day, as Americans unite to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice.

The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 was signed into law by then-President Donald J. Trump, designating March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

This special day joins six other military-centric annual observances codified in Title 4 – Flag and Seal, Seat of Government and the States, Chapter 1 – The Flag among them Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day.

March 29 is a fitting choice to honor Vietnam veterans. It was chosen to be observed in perpetuity as March 29, 1973; this was the day United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam was disestablished and also the day the last U.S. combat troops departed Vietnam. In addition, on and around this same day, Hanoi released the last of its acknowledged prisoners of war.

The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration honors all veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces from November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of location.

November 1, 1955 was selected to coincide with the official designation of Military Assistance Advisory Group-Vietnam (MAAG-V); May 15, 1975 marks the end of the battle precipitated by the seizure of the SS Mayaguez.

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that there are more than 7 million  Vietnam veterans living in the U.S. and abroad and 10 million families of those who served during this timeframe. 

There is no distinction between veterans who served in-country, in-theater or who were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period. All were called to serve, and none could self-determine where they would serve.

Additional Background: U.S. involvement in Vietnam started slowly with an initial deployment of advisors in the early 1950s, grew incrementally through the early 1960s and expanded with the deployment of full combat units in July 1965. The last U.S. personnel were evacuated from Vietnam in April 1975.

This national commemoration was authorized by Congress, established under the Secretary of Defense and launched by the President to thank and honor our nation’s Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice.

In 2007, the 110th Congress incorporated language in House of Representatives (H.R.) 4986 authorizing the secretary of defense to conduct a program commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

H.R. 4986 was signed into law as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2008 by 43rd U.S. President George W. Bush on January 28, 2008.

44th U.S. President Barack Obama officially inaugurated this Commemoration at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. on Memorial Day, May 28, 2012.

Section 598 (Public Law 110-181) of the 2008 NDAA specifically addresses Commemoration activities.

Congress outlined a total of five objectives for The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, with the primary objective being to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the Nation, with distinct recognition of former prisoners of war and families of those still listed as missing in action.

The four remaining objectives highlight the service of our Armed Forces and support organizations during the war; pay tribute to wartime contributions at home by American citizens; highlight technology, science and medical advances made during the war and to recognize contributions by our allies.

By Presidential Proclamation, The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration will continue through Veterans Day, November 11, 2025.


Washington’s Birthday (Presidents Day)

Third Monday in February

On the third Monday in February, we honor our first President, George Washington, whose birthday is February 22. We also traditionally honor President Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday is February 12.

George Washington’s Birthday was the first Federal holiday to honor an individual’s birth date. In 1885, Congress designated February 22 as a holiday for all Federal workers. Nearly a century later, in 1971, the Uniform Monday Holiday Law changed the date to the third Monday in February. The position of the holiday between the birthdays of Washington and Abraham Lincoln gave rise to the popular name of Presidents Day.


Loyalty Day (May 1)

Loyalty Day not only celebrates the loyalty Americans possess for their nation but also looks at the historic events that led to the formation of the U.S. The first National Loyalty Day took place in 1921 during the First Red Scare — a time when America was struggling with the fear of far-left extremism including Bolshevism and anarchism, due to real and imagined events. It is during this period of uncertainty that the day came into being and was initially celebrated as Americanization Day.

In 1955, Loyalty Day was recognized by the U.S. Congress since the country was facing a great threat in the form of the rise of communism. During this time, Congress felt it necessary to honor America and remind people of the loyalty they owe to the nation. In 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared the day a legal holiday to be celebrated with great fervor. According to the president, it was essential to observe a National Loyalty Day to look back on the history of the country and understand how valuable the gift of freedom is.

Since then, every president that comes into power is required to announce the celebration of the day by asking for the U.S. Flag to be raised on all government buildings. The president is also required to order the organization of ceremonies such as parades, fireworks, events in schools, etc. The basic motive behind the day is to awaken a sense of patriotism in all Americans.


Armed Forces Day – Third Saturday in May

A day to pay tribute to the men and women currently serving in our nation’s armed forces.

Led by the effort of President Harry S Truman to establish a single day for Americans to thank the nation’s military members for their service to our country, Armed Forces Day was created on August 31, 1949, following the unification of the armed forces under the U.S. Department of Defense. First observed on May 20, 1950, the day was designed to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard Days, but the separate days are still observed, particularly within their respective services.


Memorial Day – May 30 (Traditional)

Originally called Decoration Day, it originated after the Civil War to commemorate those who died in the war by decorating their graves. It was declared “Memorial Day” by federal law in 1967, by which time the remembrance had been extended to honor all Americans who died while serving in America’s armed forces. Many people celebrate Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials; volunteers place American Flags on every grave in national cemeteries.

Memorial Day, originally celebrated on May 30, now designated on the last Monday in May, is a day sacred to all war veterans. America’s collective consciousness demands that all citizens be reminded of the deaths of their fellow countrymen. By honoring the nation’s war dead, we preserve their memory and thus their service and sacrifice. All U.S. Flags should be displayed at half-staff during the day.

Patriotism calls for all citizens to be reminded of the deaths of their fellow countrymen during wartime.


Flag Day – June 14

Flag Day is June 14 and celebrates the adoption of the U.S. Flag as the official symbol for the United States: our stars and stripes. This day was first recognized by Congress on June 14, 1777 and became known as Flag Day.

Not only is the U.S. Flag older than the Union Jack of Great Britain and the tri-color flag of France, but it also is the only Flag to have flown on the moon.

Congress first stated that there should be a star and stripe for every state. Our first Flag had 13 stars, and 7 red and 6 white stripes. In 1794, two new states were added and we had a Flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes. By 1818 there were 20 states, but our county was still using the Flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes. Congress thought about having 20 stripes and agreed that it might become a problem because of its size so they passed a law that said there would be 13 stripes for the original 13 states and that they would add a star for each new state that joined the union.

The U.S. Flag has 13 stripes: seven red and six white. A blue field with 50 stars is located next to the staff in the upper left corner of the Flag. It extends from the top to the lower edge of the fourth red stripe. The stars are arranged in alternating rows of six and five representing the 50 states of the United States. The stars do not represent any given state.

The colors used in the Flag give special meaning to the Flag: Red for valor and zeal; white for hope and cleanliness of life; and blue — the color of heaven — for reverence and loyalty.

The stars are an ancient symbol of the heavens. Our Flag’s 50 stars represent each state as part of the nation, but also a separate level of government. Our federal government was not given the power to control the states, so each state would be able to govern themselves in those things they could do better. When you are looking at the Flag, you are looking at the magnificent history of all Americans who have lived before us, your own ancestors, and the most enduring nation of free people that has ever existed.

With a number of upcoming patriotic holidays, be sure to take photos and write about events to honor our veterans and post them on #AuxiliaryPatriotism and  #AuxSWAP.


Have you heard of Auxiliary SWAP?

SWAP was an initiative started in 2018 to encourage members to Share Wonderful Auxiliary Projects. It works when an Auxiliary has had a great idea for a project, event, parade float, membership recruitment or promotion and decides to document and share that idea with other Auxiliaries.

Below are 3 easy ways to SWAP!

  • Social Media: Photograph your event, project, etc. and share along with “How To” information on your Auxiliary’s Facebook page. Ask your Department to share your post to ensure the idea reaches more members. With every posting, use #AuxSWAP so members from all over the country and beyond can see these ideas, too.
  • The E-Newsletter: If you have a great idea that you’d like to share with our membership, be it a type of membership drive, Program promotion, request for a new type of press release, community project or even a cool parade float, send it to us at with the subject line #AuxSWAP. We would love to periodically share these with our membership in the E-News throughout the year!
  • Word of Mouth: Talk up your ideas the old-fashioned way. Go to a District, Department or County Council meeting, Conference or Convention and chat with fellow members about what you did, how you did it, what worked, what didn’t and what may work for others in the future. Answer questions, but also exchange ideas about how to improve what you’ve done and help others to have the same positive experience your Auxiliary did.

When you share your Auxiliary’s ideas and another Auxiliary runs with them, that’s a successful Auxiliary SWAP!