To the Editor:
Lest we forget
When I did my tour during the Vietnam War, there were protests going on against war here in the states and it seemed as though the media was blaming our service men and women for the war and the conduct of the war.
This alone was not a very good send off knowing that many of our peers did not approve of what you thought was your duty.
When I reached Vietnam, they were in the middle of elections. I observed skirmishes between parties who thought their person was the best suited to run their country. I also saw pamphlets handed out to the local citizens by the Vietcong that told them, “If you vote, you’re dead.”
It told the local citizens their polling places were zeroed in by their rockets and they would be blown up if they voted. In spite of this threat of death, I observed lines that appeared to be a quarter of a mile long waiting to vote. After observing this, I became convinced that maybe they didn’t know what they wanted, but they knew what they did not want. They did not want Communism. This convinced me, regardless of what was going on back home, we were there for a great cause, trying to stop Communism spread throughout Southeast Asia.
Seven years after the Vietnam War, a poll was made of the survivors that showed 91 percent were glad they served their country and 89 percent agreed with the statement “Our troops were asked to fight in a war which our political leaders in Washington would not let us win.”
Nine million men and women served in the military during the Vietnam War, three million of whom went to the Vietnam Theater. Two-thirds of these were volunteers and 73 percent of those who died were volunteers. While some attention has been given to the plight of our prisoners of war, there has been little recognition of how brutal the war was for those who fought in on the battlefield.
The criticism they received upon returning home was not from the World War II generation, but from the very elite in their age group who supposedly spoke for them.
Hanoi has since admitted that 1.4 million of its soldiers died on the battlefield compared to 58,000 total U.S. dead. We have interviewed North Vietnamese generals who state if we had continued bombing the north for one more month, they would have given up.
Guess why we quit bombing them.
Let us all plead with our politicians to not put too many restrictions on our present day warriors in Afghanistan and Iraq. They need our support. They are not to be forgotten. Keep them in your prayers.
American Legion Post 375