~ by Dave Phillips for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Kristofer Goldsmith was discharged from the Army at the height of the Iraq war because he was not on a plane to Baghdad for his second deployment. Instead, he was in a hospital after attempting suicide the night before.

On the sergeant’s first deployment, his duties often required him to photograph mutilated corpses. After coming home, he was stalked by nightmares and despair. In 2007, he overdosed on pills, and his platoon found him passed out in a grove of trees at Fort Stewart, Ga., that had been planted to honor soldiers killed in combat.

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Each year, states across the country set aside one day in March to honor our Vietnam Era veterans. California is no exception. In addition to proclaiming March 30th as the official “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day,” many counties and cities throughout the state come together to celebrate our Vietnam Veterans, each in their own way. Visit our events calendar for information on celebrations in your area.

In the mean time, read California Governor Gerry Brown’s 2015 proclamation below to learn more what this special day is all about:

~ Published on 30 March, 2015
Sacramento, California – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued a proclamation declaring Monday, March 30, 2015, as “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day” in the State of California.


Nearly three and a half million Americans served in the United States military during the Vietnam War and related conflicts in Southeast Asia between 1959 and 1975. More than 58,000 U.S. service members died during the Vietnam War, including more than 5,800 Californians. Many suffered physical injuries. Others suffered invisible wounds of war, including post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health conditions. Decades later, Vietnam veterans are being diagnosed with diseases and disorders associated with their exposure to Agent Orange and other toxic herbicides.

Unfortunately, too many of these veterans have not received the help and care they need to live healthy and productive lives in peacetime. In addition to those with medical conditions that are direct results of their service, there are many who suffer from unemployment, poverty, homelessness and substance abuse.

Treatment of our veterans reflects profoundly on our character as a state and a nation. The state is committed to improving current services and implementing new programs for those who served and their families.

Our Vietnam War veterans earned our everlasting gratitude. I urge all Californians to join us in welcoming home our veterans and assisting them in every way possible.

NOW THEREFORE I, EDMUND G. BROWN JR., Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim March 30, 2015, as “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.”

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 27th day of March 2015.

Governor of California


Secretary of State


~ by Moses A. McIntosh, Jr.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of representing DAV members and our supporters by testifying before a joint session of the Senate and House Committees on Veterans’ Affairs. My testimony highlighted the needs of America’s wartime veterans, the issues that confront the Department of Veterans Affairs, and, most importantly, the achievements of DAV in carrying out our mission of assisting injured and ill veterans.

I was proud to report our steady advance of achievement in aiding veterans to file hundreds of thousands of claims for benefits; transporting millions of veterans to their VA appointments; locating thousands of DAV volunteers at VA facilities to help their fellow veterans, friends and family members; and, forcefully moving to change VA’s appellate process and reform VA’s health care system.

All of these facts are reported in my formal, written statement, which can be read here. As always, DAV appreciates your continuing support, and your active participation in the DAV Commander’s Action Network.