What is SDIT?
Sons and Daughters In Touch represent the estimated 20,000 ‘children’ of American servicemen lost in the Vietnam War. Today, these Gold Star ‘sons and daughters’ are the middle-aged personification of the resilience that Gold Star ‘children’ overcome in the face of life’s greatest challenges.
Who were our fathers?
- Our fathers are among the 58,281 American servicemen lost in the Vietnam War.
- They represented every ethnic and social class in America.
- They were Privates, Airmen, Corpsmen, and some were Generals.
- They were drafted by and enlisted into every branch of the US military. They served from the beginning to the end of the Vietnam War, fighting in every battle along the way.
- On land, in the air, and at sea, our dads were lost at the very beginning and end of their combat tours…and some are still unaccounted for in SE Asia.
Today, our fathers are remembered on every panel of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Sons and Daughters In Touch (SDIT) was established in 1989, seven years after the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. At the time, no organization existed to support and mobilize the Gold Star and POW/MIA ‘sons and daughters’ whose fathers are listed on The Wall.
Media exposure from Parade Magazine, Sunday Today with Maria Shriver, and CBS Sunday Morning helped promote the identity and formation of this group of young adults.
SDIT exists “to locate, unite and support the Gold Star and POW/MIA ‘sons and daughters’ whose fathers were lost during the Vietnam War.
This mission is accomplished via peer-to-peer support, paying tribute to our fathers at the hallowed grounds of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, hosting programs and events across the nation, continually locating new members, directing members to the right sources for case management, and advocating for state and federal legislation upholding the honor and traditions of America’s Gold Star Families.
SDIT regularly partners with America’s Veterans Service Organizations to build connections with those who fought alongside our fathers. Since September 11, 2001, SDIT has also healing efforts by working with America’s latest generation of Gold Star families who are desperate for what lays ahead in this unique life experience.
The Gold Star designation is not something to which anyone should aspire or pursue. Instead, it should always be the aspiration of our nation that there is never a newly minted Gold Star Family.
While it would be ideal that no child ever loses his or her father or mother in military combat, such a dream is not likely. To that end, SDIT sees a future where the lessons of previous wars are used to provide better care for America’s Gold Star families, not only at the time of their tragic loss – but throughout their lifetimes.
SDIT is proud to be an Honorary Commemorative Partner of the Vietnam War Commemoration. As the nation officially marks the 50th anniversary of the end of the war, SDIT is actively supporting recognition efforts that have now honored more than 3 million Vietnam Veterans.
In May 2023, SDIT is playing a central role in the ‘Welcome Home!’ celebration on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The 3-day event honors all Vietnam Veterans and their families with a series of programs, exhibits, displays, concerts, film screenings, and patriotic tributes.
The History of Father’s Day
In 1992, SDIT held its first national Father’s Day reunion at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. That weekend of events provided hundreds of Gold Star ‘sons and daughters’ with a first-ever opportunity to meet other sons and daughters and engage in innovative peer-to-peer support. For most, this marked their first opportunity to trace their fathers’ names on The Wall.
SDIT also hosted national Father’s Day celebrations in 1993, 1997, 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015, helping make Father’s Day one of the most popular and photographed days at the ‘The Wall.’
Due to the pandemic, SDIT held a virtual Father’s Day celebration in 2020.
In March 2003, SDIT led the largest-ever Gold Star pilgrimage to Vietnam. The historic journey was guided by 20 combat veterans who helped lead 50 Gold Star & POW/MIA ‘sons and daughters’ to find the exact locations where their fathers were lost during the war.
To propel its efforts, SDIT pursues funding from foundations, Veterans Service Organizations, its supporters, and members. The tax ID number for SDIT is 54-1655310.