VFW returns Vietnam artifacts home thanks to help from American veterans

Elizabeth Howe
October 28, 2019 - 10:48 am
Vietnam Artifacts


The Veterans of Foreign Wars asked and America's Vietnam veterans answered — and because of it, Vietnamese families were reunited with memorabilia from their missing loved ones. 

In July, the VFW national commander asked all Vietnam veterans to search closets and footlockers for documents or artifacts that might help Vietnam determine the fate of its estimated 300,000 missing Vietnamese. National commander B.J. Lawrence also challenged veterans to check their personal effects for other items that might help bring families closure. 

“It is important for the Vietnam generation to recognize that the personal connection they have with their memorabilia will not transfer to their descendants, which means such items will either be donated or simply trashed,” Lawrence said in July. “And even though it’s been over a half-century for most Vietnam veterans, now is still a great time to help solidify our government’s relationship with Vietnam, and to help make a difference in the lives of other families half a world away.”

Last week, VFW was able to deliver the results of that nationwide search. 

The artifacts included dog tags, a pistol, and documents.

Returned Artifacts

“Our VFW members and their families continue to answer the call in this very important effort to bring closure to those who lost loved ones during the Vietnam War,” now executive director of the VFW Washington D.C. office Lawrence said. 

In addition to providing closure and aid to Vietnamese veterans, VFW senior leaders return to Vietnam to help U.S. government efforts to account for our own service members. The group has been making the trip since 1991. According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, missing and unaccounted-for servicemen and civilians total 1,353 Americans with 825 individuals from Vietnam alone.


“It is vital that we return any known artifacts, documents, and personal items back to the Vietnamese government, who have continued to foster a good relationship with the United States as we diligently search for our missing servicemen,” said Lawrence. “This display of diplomacy will only help in our efforts to reach our true goal and promise to our families affected by the Vietnam War – and that’s to achieve the fullest possible accounting of those Americans missing from the Vietnam War.”

Vietnam veterans and their families interested in providing items to DPAA, can mail their memorabilia to:

VFW Washington Office

Attention: Public Affairs

200 Maryland Avenue, NE

Washington, DC 20002

Items collected by the VFW Washington Office will be turned over to DPAA.

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