Vietnam Vets express gratitude to
Vietnam agencies for assistance
in seeking MIAs
HANOI, Vietnam, Sept. 23, 2003-- In a
ceremony today marking ten years of cooperation, Vietnam Veterans of
America recognized Vietnamese agencies and individuals who have assisted
in resolving the fates of Vietnamese and American missing as a result of
the Vietnam War.
"We are grateful for the assistance
of Vietnamese witnesses who have come forward with information that has
helped in the recovery of Americans missing from the Vietnam War,"
said Thomas H. Corey, national president of Vietnam Veterans of America,
as he prepared to recognize those who have worked together on the Veterans
Initiative. "They have responded as have American veterans when asked
to provide information on missing soldiers from the Vietnam War.
"The Veterans Initiative, an
historic veteran-to-veteran effort, unites both Vietnamese and Americans
in a historic effort to resolve the lingering issue of missing on both
sides of the war.
The Veterans Initiative began ten years
ago as a gesture of goodwill by VVA representatives who accompanied a
congressional delegation to Vietnam to discuss the POW/MIA issue in May
When asked by Vietnamese representatives
if we would help locate information on the fate of over 300,000 Vietnamese
who remain missing as a result of the war, VVA representatives offered to
solicit information from American Vietnam War veterans.
Since that time American veterans have
delivered information on the fate of over 8,000 missing Vietnamese. In
response, Vietnamese people have expanded their effort to obtain
information about missing Americans.
"We would not be here today without
the increased cooperation and support of the Vietnamese and American
agencies who have worked on this issue for years," Corey said.
"This work has been done with the
cooperation of many different organizations and agencies to include the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vietnam Office of Seeking Missing Persons,
Ministry of Defense, Veterans Association of Vietnam, Vietnam Union of
Friendship Organizations, Vietnam-USA Society, Joint Task Force-Full
Accounting, Central Identification Laboratory-Hawaii, Defense Prisoner of
War and Missing In Action Office, and VVA.
"As veterans we are united by our
efforts to bring resolution to this and other post-war issues for
Vietnamese and American families. Though we were on opposite sides during
the war, our common goal now is to achieve the fullest possible accounting
for all who remain missing as well as other issues from the war,"
"This ceremony is a recognition of
our ten-year collaboration to find answers and bring some measure of peace
to American and Vietnamese families.
"We recognize the people of Vietnam
who have assisted in the recovery of remains, assisting the Vietnam Office
of Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP) and the Joint Task Force-Full
Accounting (JTF-FA)," Corey concluded.