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Members of the state House of Delegates should move to pass a bill already approved in the Senate to honor the state's Vietnam veterans.

SB80, sponsored by Sen. John Astle, D-District 30, received unanimous support among senators voting on Feb. 16.

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The bill notes that, "Vietnam veterans were caught on their return home in the crossfire of an extremely divisive public debate about the involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War, which deprived many of those veterans of public support and appreciation of their patriotic service."

To rectify that, the bill would make March 30 "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day."

The fiscal policy note attached to the bill says that more than 58,000 members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including 1,014 from Maryland, lost their lives in Vietnam and more than 300,000 members were wounded. Similar resolutions expressing support for establishing a day to recognize Vietnam veterans have already been passed by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and California enacted legislation declaring March 30 as "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day."

The bill received a first reading in the House of Delegates and, on Monday, was moved to Health and Government Operations Committee.

Our nation remembers veterans and the sacrifices they have made numerous times throughout the year, and their returns from conflict have traditionally been met with parades or other expressions of support that demonstrate our appreciation for their efforts. That wasn't the case following Vietnam. Many at the time thought that we should not have been involved in the conflict, and often returning troops were the target of their anger.

We can't turn back the clock and change history. But we can demonstrate that we have learned from our mistake, and that regardless of where we may stand on our involvement in world conflicts, we will always stand will the brave men and women who give their service to our country.

The Senate has already moved to establish a day to honor Vietnam veterans. The House of Delegates should do likewise.

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