Bryant with Vietnam veterans.

Bryant with Vietnam veterans.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has declared Saturday, “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day in Mississippi.” The governor issued a proclamation this morning at the Mississippi State Capitol in the ceremonial office with two dozen Vietnam veterans standing watch over the signing.

The proclamation read as follows:

“Whereas, many Mississippians and Americans served with honor in the Vietnam War, which started in the early 1960’s and came to an end in 1975. Of the 3,403,100 Americans who served in the Vietnam War, there were 58,220 casualties, which included 636 Mississippians who paid the ultimate sacrifice; and

Whereas, of the seven 766 prisoners of war, 114 died while captive in Vietnam and 591 returned home during Operation Homecoming. The Vietnam War left over 1,600 Americans unaccounted for. Of that number, 12 Mississippians are still listed as missing in action; and

Whereas, the largest memorial to Mississippi Vietnam veterans sits on four acres in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Dedicated in 1997, the memorial presents both the names and images of those from the state who served in the war, including those still listed as missing. It is a fitting monument to the men and women who served in Vietnam and adds to the rich narrative of Mississippians and the Vietnam War; and

Whereas, in 1966 the 199th Light Infantry Brigade at Camp Shelby received combat training in such areas as escape and evasion training. When the soldiers left Mississippi, the community saluted the soldiers with an event in the Reed Green Coliseum at the University of Southern Mississippi; and

Whereas, today there are approximately 227,000 veterans living in Mississippi, which includes over 70,000 who served during the Vietnam era; and

Whereas, in recognition of the men and women who served with dignity and honor during this historic time period, let us remember them and thank them for their service:

Now, therefore, I, Phil Bryant, Governor of the state of Mississippi, do hereby proclaim March 22, 2014 as “Welcome home Vietnam Veterans Day in Mississippi” and call upon the people of our great state to join me in honoring Vietnam veterans who valiantly fought and served our nation during the Vietnam War and express our gratitude to the families and loved ones of all those who served.”

Bryant offered the ceremonial first pen from the signing to James Wiley, the veteran responsible for the effort leading to Mississippi’s first-ever welcome home Vietnam veterans parade, being held Saturday as part of the BancorpSouth Zippity Doo Dah® Parade in Fondren.

Find complete details on the weekend here.