End of the War in Vietnam, 30th Anniversary Message sign now

OPEN LETTER TO THE PEOPLE OF VIET NAM

As citizens of the United States of America -- many of us American veterans of the war in Viet Nam -- we wish to convey our highest regards and our congratulations to the people of Viet Nam on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the end of the war, on April 30, 1975.

In respect for the memory of the more than 58,000 American military personnel and civilians and our allies who died in Viet Nam, and the three million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians who perished during the war, we wish to express our deep sympathies and our heartfelt condolences to all families on all sides who lost loved ones during the conflict -- and to all those who survived the war but with debilitating injuries and lifetime disabilities. We also wish to acknowledge that there are many on all sides who still suffer the consequences of the war, including the hundreds of American families and the hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese families whose loved ones never have been found, the millions who attribute their medical problems and disabilities to America's use of Agent Orange in Viet Nam, and the children and adults in Viet Nam who still are exposed to the dangers, every day, of death or injury from unexploded ordnance, landmines, and residual effects of Agent Orange dioxin in remaining contamination sites.

We cannot change the past and erase the tragedy of the war, but together we can work for a better life for our children and for future generations. The Vietnamese often say, with forgiveness and sincerity, ''Close the past and open the future.'' We thank the Vietnamese people for this gracious and generous attitude.

While Viet Nam has never demanded an apology from the U.S. for our massive armed intervention in Viet Nam's internal affairs, we nonetheless wish to take this opportunity to express our recognition of America's role in causing tremendous devastation of natural resources, economic dislocation, loss of life, and pain and suffering for millions of people. As American citizens, we offer our sincere regrets and deep sympathies for the war's destruction and its continuing consequences for innocent people on all sides.

On the occasion of this commemoration, three decades after the war came to a close, we pledge to the people of Viet Nam our commitment to continued reconciliation and friendship between our two peoples, our mutual respect, and our cooperation and good will toward a better life for our children and future generations.

And we pledge our individual and collective efforts to assure continued peace, independence, and opportunity for the people of Viet Nam today, and in the years to come.

AMERICAN CITIZENS INCLUDING VETERANS OF THE WAR IN VIET NAM

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U.S. Citizens and Veterans of Vietnam War

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