ADVANCE FOR USE SUNDAY, AUG. 10, 2014, AND THEREAFTER- FILE - In this Aug. 10, 1964 file photo, President Lyndon B. Johnson speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, as leaders of Congress stand by his desk for a ceremonial signing of the Congressional resolution, also known as the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, backing his firm stand against aggression in Southeast Asia. Fifty years ago Johnson signed the resolution that historians call the crucial catalyst for deep American involvement in the Vietnam War. From left Rep. Carl Albert, D-Okla., Sen. Hubert Humphrey, D-Minn., Rep. Charles Halleck, R-Ind., Sen. Everett Dirksen, R-Ill., House Speaker John McCormack and Sen. J.W. Fulbright, D-Ark. In right background are Sen. George Aiken, R-Vt., and Sen. George Smathers, D-Fla. (AP Photo/John Rous, File)

John Rous

ADVANCE FOR USE SUNDAY, AUG. 10, 2014, AND THEREAFTER- FILE - In this Aug. 10, 1964 file photo, President Lyndon B. Johnson speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, as leaders of Congress stand by his desk for a ceremonial signing of the Congressional resolution, also known as the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, backing his firm stand against aggression in Southeast Asia. Fifty years ago Johnson signed the resolution that historians call the crucial catalyst for deep American involvement in the Vietnam War. From left Rep. Carl Albert, D-Okla., Sen. Hubert Humphrey, D-Minn., Rep. Charles Halleck, R-Ind., Sen. Everett Dirksen, R-Ill., House Speaker John McCormack and Sen. J.W. Fulbright, D-Ark. In right background are Sen. George Aiken, R-Vt., and Sen. George Smathers, D-Fla. (AP Photo/John Rous, File)

Ceremonies commemorate start of Vietnam War

The Associated Press

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RALEIGH — Commemorations are being held across North Carolina marking the 50th anniversary of the War in Vietnam.

It was 50 years ago on Sunday that President Lyndon Johnson signed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. The document gave the Johnson and Nixon administrations the legal basis to prosecute the war, although there was fighting before it was signed.

To mark the anniversary, the North Carolina Division of Veterans Affairs and the Vietnam Veterans of America are holding commemorative events Sunday in five North Carolina communities - Waynesville, Thomasville, Jacksonville, Fayetteville and Charlotte.

A release from the division says the events will formally start the state’s 50th year remembrance of the war and of the 1,600 North Carolinians who were killed or are missing and the 216,000 who served.