Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE-
Contact: Jose Ramos (562) 761-2681

VIETNAM VETERANS WELCOME HOME EVENT MARCH 30 IN WHITTIER:

Because many Vietnam veterans believe that they never got the thanks that other U.S. military personnel has received in recent the years, a Vietnam Veterans Welcome Home event is set for Sunday, March 30 at California High School in Whittier, Southern California 90604, organizers have announced.

The event, set for the school's football stadium from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

(9800 Mills Ave,LA Thomas Guide, pp 707,E4) is the brainchild of Vietnam veteran Jose Ramos of Whittier, who has argued for years that a national Welcome Home Day for Vietnam veterans should be enacted by federal authorities. Ramos has staged bike rides and other activities to promote the idea.

"The (Vietnam) wall in Washington is dedicated to those that died," Ramos told the Los Angeles Times in 2004. "The welcome home" is for those that survived and lived and came home.
For us to. . . hear 'Welcome home. Thank you. Job well done.' " Recently, he called on President Bush - by standing alone outside of the White House - to sign a resolution passed by the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives endorsing the Welcome Home date as a fitting tribune to Vietnam vets.

The March 30 date is significant, Ramos said, because it was on that day in 1973 that the U.S. completed withdrawing its combat forces from South Vietnam, ending this nation's military involvement there. The Paris peace accords ended the conflict in April of 1975.

Ramos has been joined in planning the March 30 event by Whittier-area veterans from several military and civic organizations, such as local chapters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and the American G.I. Forum. The Whittier City Council has endorsed Ramos' efforts. Instrumental in the event planning have been the staffs of Rep.

Linda Sanchez (D-Lakewood) and Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, whose district includes Whittier. Sanchez's congressional district also includes Whittier.

Organizers, who hope the celebration becomes an annual event, emphasized that the event is not solely for Vietnam veterans. "We want to honor all veterans," Ramos said. "We don't want to exclude any veteran from any war at this celebration."

In addition to formal ceremonies and speeches from dignitaries, music, food booths, displays of military vehicles and other activities are scheduled.(562-761-2681 / www.whvvd.org)

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