By: Kevin Lilley and Karen Jowers - Military Times
Military commissaries and exchanges will be among the many businesses, community groups and other organizations that will honor those who served in uniform from 1955 to 1975 by providing lapel pins as part of National Vietnam Veterans Day on Thursday.
About 130 Army and Air Force Exchange stores worldwide, as well as seven Navy Exchange stores and some Marine Corps Exchange locations, will hand out the pins provided by the Vietnam War Commemoration office, a Defense Department-backed agency responsible for marking the 50th anniversary of the conflict. Seventy commissaries will host commemorative ceremonies that day, according to commissary officials. The ceremonies will be free and open to the public, but those planning to attend should check with their local store to confirm location and time of ceremony.
The pins are available for “United States veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the period of November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of location,” per the group’s website.
But AAFES and NEX officials said neither chain will require proof of service for veterans to receive the pin; an MCX spokesman said via email that he could not immediately answer questions about eligibility.
Commissary officials said the 70 commissaries will hand out the lapel pins as part of their ceremonies. There was no published requirement for veterans to provide proof of Vietnam-period service to get the pin at commissaries, a commissary spokesman said.
Commissary and exchange officials have compiled a joint list of locations.
The AAFES locations include stores throughout the U.S. and in Europe, Japan, South Korea, Guam and other overseas outlets that will be providing the pins from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Participating NEX locations include stores in Norfolk, Virginia; Jacksonville and Pensacola, Florida; Bethesda, Maryland; San Diego; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; and Guam. Details on those events are available on NEX’s Facebook events page.
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