March 30, 2013

40 years removed

Yesterday, March 29, marked the fortieth anniversary of the last American troops leaving Vietnam.  Something that CBS could have memorialized with a documentary piece, not a benign pseudo-apology about using Vietnam as the set for one of their reality shows. The fake apology was done in the usual way - addressed to "those who were offended" - everyone should be offended.

My father and uncles survived that war.  A close friend of mine was born in a refugee camp as his family fled Vietnam.  I may be too young to remember the events and their impact first hand, but I was raised by people whose lives were shaped by those years, and they made sure I appreciated the sacrifices and hardships that were endured by our military men and women - both at war and at home.  Time doesn't lessen the atrocities of war, nor does it require that we forgive the actions of traitorous Americans.  A lesson television producers and our current government should remember.

There are more photos here.

The strain of battle for Dong Xoai is shown on the face of U.S. Army Sgt. Philip Fink, an advisor to the 52nd Vietnamese Ranger battalion, shown June 12, 1965. The unit bore the brunt of recapturing the jungle outpost from the Viet Cong. (AP Photo/Steve Stibbens)
During Operation “Bushmaster”, a member of Company “L”, (Ranger), 75th Infantry, wearing camouflage makeup sits alone with his thoughts while waiting to participate in an assault mission against North Vietnamese Army (NVA) forces in Vietnam in August of 1971. (US Department of Defense/SP4 John L. Hennesey, 221st Sig Co).

1 comment:

CenTexTim said...

The lasting memory I have of that damned war is the image of helicopters evacuating the last Americans from the U.S. embassy in Saigon.

The lesson that we should have learned - but didn't - is that if we are going to fight a war, fight to win. And by winning I mean kill the enemy and reduce his holdings to rubble - a pile of scorched stones, no one standing on top of another.

But what do I know? I was just a lower-level grunt who didn't have enough intelligence to understand the big picture...