Memorial Day memory: Vietnam the war that has most affected my life
Vietnam was one of those deadly, bloody wars. A war that change the lives of many a young american sent off to fight on a foreign soil. The reason, well it was not clear.
(13) Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
The political avenue theorists all spoke of the entire world, starting at Vietnam; where the Red communists would take over. Well, we fought em; pulled out, and they won! Yet they did not take over the whole world. No, now we are best friends.
Read this related article: ‘Nam’ behind us, Pres. Obama lifts Arms embargo.
The fact is that during this war, many a young man sought shelter in Canada so they would not go to war. Draft dodgers, those who simply would not fight, and others protested the war in different ways.
Continue in post for more, including a short video on Vietnam by the History channel.
For me, I was in the Navy aboard a destroyed based at Newport, R.I. It was inconceivable that we would fight such a war with only part of our military. While Johnson blew the literal hell out of the jungles of Vietnam, then later we saw the US use Agent Orange. None of this helped. Nor did the massive street demonstrations against the war. Vietnam era military at the time were looked down upon and blamed for the war. There has never been such a generation that fought a major war that so many Americans literally hated them for it. The average age of those fighting in Nam was 21, see the short video below for more info!
The demonstrations against the war, the fact that Jane Fonda ‘Hanoi Jane’, and many a American young man and woman stood against this war; made it even more volatile. Years later a repentant Jane Fonda said this and to her I say ‘we have all made mistakes’!
Whenever possible I try to sit down with vets and talk with them, because I understand and it makes me sad. It hurts me and it will to my grave that I made a huge, huge mistake that made a lot of people think I was against the soldiers.
The war in Vietnam made a clear point that America does not always win its wars. That in fact, the blood of men and women spilled in such wars make a case as to the ‘why’ did we get involved. It was a political war, a war that political DC hacks led and also supported Johnson in his bombing runs in Nam. But the problem and history of Vietnam go way back to the French when they were there. Whether you fought in Vietnam or not, this war affected you. Whether you demonstrated against the war in Asia or not, this war in Vietnam moved the very fabric of American society. The year I got married Nixon ordered the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Nam. This led to the eventual takeover by the communist forces there. See below pertinent facts of the Vietnam War.
By 1969, at the peak of U.S. involvement in the war, more than 500,000 U.S. military personnel were involved in the Vietnam conflict. Growing opposition to the war in the United States led to bitter divisions among Americans, both before and after President Richard Nixon ordered the withdrawal of U.S. forces in 1973. In 1975, communist forces seized control of Saigon, ending the Vietnam War, and the country was unified as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam the following year.
Eventually I got out of the Navy and went to college. I had college buddies who had fought in Vietnam. Everything was back to normal, or as good as it could be. These were times of post war nam. Partying, having fun, and talking about life. Not many spoke in depth about Vietnam. Nor did we discuss how the public treated Vietnam vets. I would have never treated a Vet of any kind the way the Vietnam vets were treated. The hostile nature, the depth of the anger and hate was there; seething. Today, most of this has passed. But the deep riding fear of another Vietnam is rising to the top again. That fear of many is what we see happening in the middle east. The whole concept of Pres. Obama’s war there and the fact that America, Russia, Iran, and the coalition have not completely wiped out ISIS is a reminder again that ‘we do not always win our wars’!
Both the war, the Congress, and the Presidency left a bad political and social taste in the mouths of many during the time of ‘nam’. Even today, Vietnam has a stigma but the wars America gets into leaves another one. Even today, our country is bogged down in more war. As with all wars, many a mom and dad lost their son or daughter to a war fought so far away and for what reason?
The war began in 1954 (though conflict in the region stretched back to the mid-1940s), after the rise to power of Ho Chi Minh and his communist Viet Minh party in North Vietnam, and continued against the backdrop of an intense Cold War between two global superpowers: the United States and the Soviet Union. Source
Now Pres. Obama moves into a new chapter and arms the country. Well let us hope we never have to fight them again, for they beat America with small arms and holes in the earth, and big hearts. What will they do with better weapons and the same attitude? Let us not find out.
Alot of good men and women died in that war, let us not forget them or any of our service men or women on this Memorial day. On this memorial day I also remember my Grandfather who ran the coast of America in his boat, working for the government. From Catalina past Los Angeles north. He did this during World war 2 as well. My dad was a navy medic in the South Pacific during that war with the Japanese. My dad passed on some time ago. There was no funeral, no way to say thanks or goodbye due to family who did not let me know he was so bad. To him and to Grandpa I say thanks with tears. I miss you both! It seems I never spent enough time with either of you. Time is so short. Memories so long, and the heart so vulnerable.
But Vietnam is a different place today than it was. Has America changed or has Vietnam? Yet, as America and Vietnam get along, we can only think, why it could not of happened before so many died on both sides? Why do men kill? Why do they not stop? The answer in my world is one word; “SIN”!
Ecclesiastes sums it all up and was a top song years ago, remember it?
(1) To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
(2) A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
(3) A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
(4) A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
(5) A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
(6) A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
(7) A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
(8) A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Memorial Day memory: Vietnam the war that has most affected my life
A Commentary in the Writers Pulse by Dana Glenn Smith
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