Fifty years ago, U.S. President Lyndon John-son began escalating American involvement in Vietnam, an involvement that wouldn’t end until President Gerald Ford’s time in office more than a decade later. When organizers planned the 146th Memorial Day Ceremony in the Presidio this past May 26, they made a point of recognizing the Presidio’s role in that war.
“We are dedicating this ceremony to our Vietnam veterans and giving them a long-overdue ‘welcome home and thank you,’” ceremony coordinator Wally Levin said beforehand.
Many of the 536,000 U.S. troops that were sent to Vietnam came through the Presidio. The base also played a key role in caring for wounded soldiers (more than 300,000 American troops were injured in Vietnam) as well as attempts to help refugees and orphans as the South Vietnamese government collapsed.