10/11/2012 3:00:00 PM Special flag commemorates anniversary of Vietnam War
Editor's note: This is the second in a series of articles that will culminate with the special program honoring Vietnam-era veterans on Veterans Day, Sunday, November 11th, 2012. This week's installment deals with the significant images that are found on the official "Vietnam War Commemoration Flag".
"The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration" is the official title given to the Department of Defense program to honor Vietnam Veterans on the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Vietnam War.
The traditional use of the color gold is to signify a 50th anniversary. A representation of the Vietnam Service Medal (ribbon) rests below the inner rings.
The red, white, and blue inner rings represent the flag of the United States of America and recognize all Americans, both military and civilian, who served or contributed to the Vietnam War effort.
The outer black ring serves as a reminder of those who were held as prisoners of war or listed as "Missing in Action" during the Vietnam War. The black rings surrounds the red, white, and blue rings to call attention to their sacrifices, the sacrifices of their families, and the defense of our nation's freedom.
Within the blue ring are the words: "Service, Valor, and Sacrifice", virtues demonstrated by our veterans during the Vietnam War. The gold-rimmed white star located between the words "Service" and "Valor" represent hope for the families of those veterans for which there has not been a full accounting.
The blue-rimmed gold star located between the words "Valor" and "Sacrifice" represent the families of those veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the war. The blue star at the bottom of the inner blue ring represents the families of all veterans and symbolizes their support from home.
At the bottom of the inner blue ring are six white stars, three on each side of the blue star. These six white stars symbolize the contributions and sacrifices made by the United States and its Allies: Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of Korea, and Thailand.
The center circle contains a map of Vietnam in black outline relief, signifying both the country and the Vietnamese veterans who stood with our veterans. The subdued outlines of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and surrounding waters represent the area of operation where U.S. Armed Forces served.
The green laurel wreath signifies honor for all who served.
The phrase, "A Grateful Nation Thanks and Honors You" is the personal message to each veteran, civilian, family member, and all who served and sacrificed during the Vietnam War.
The seal's blue background is the same color as the canton in the United States flag. When placed next to the flags of World War II and the Korean War commemoration flags, the Vietnam War Commemoration Flag will signify the Vietnam veterans taking their rightful place among generations of U.S. veterans.