Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) recently honored a fallen friend who served during the Vietnam War.

“We honor the anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War and those who served during that period,” Caulkins said in a video posted to Facebook on March 29. “ I spoke on the House floor to honor the memory and service of my friend and high school classmate John Smith. Johnny was born on May 19 1947. After graduating from Stephen Decatur High School in 1965 he passed up several scholarships to follow in his father's footsteps and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. On Oct. 5, 1966, Lance Corporal John R. Smith was killed in action making the ultimate sacrifice in service to his country. We remember him and the other 29,111 American Gold Star casualties today on the House floor."

Rep. Paul Jacobs (R-Carbondale) was recognized for his service in the Vietnam War.

“During his military duty assignment in Vietnam, he actually served on the Caribbean fleet training Marines in helicopter assault aboard the U.S.S. Boxer from 1966 to 1967,” Rep. Dan Swanson (R-Woodhull) said from the House floor of Jacobs. “His total service was from 1965 to 1971.”

In 2012, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation that underscored the need for a day honoring Vietnam War Veterans. Fox News reported he wrote: “The Vietnam War is a story of patriots who braved the line of fire, who cast themselves into harm’s way to save a friend, who fought hour after hour, day after day to preserve the liberties we hold dear.”

Vietnam War Veterans Day was signed into law by President Donald Trump in 2017. It joins six other days of observance: Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, Navy Day, and Veterans Day.

The state honored its Vietnam veterans by building the Illinois Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It opened its doors in  May 1988.

“To Those Who Died Honor And Eternal Rest, To Those Still In Bondage Remembrance And Hope, And To Those Who Returned Gratitude And Peace,” the inscription on the outer wall reads.

The Illinois Vietnam Veterans of America offers support for state veterans such as access to quality health care.