"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Old School Patriotism ...

Thank a Vietnam Veteran

... is still alive

by Frank Fox

I am 67 years old and served 1964 to 1970. We all know how Vietnam Era veterans were treated for years. 

It was not until the Middle East became our newest aggression, that people started going back and thanking Vietnam Era vets.

Today a lady that works for my wife called and said “Mr. Frank, I am going to stop by. My daughter, Madeline (10 years old), has something she wants to give you.” 

When I opened the door, Madeline smiled and held out her hand.  In it was clutched a pewter painted heart, that said “The Land of the Free Because of the Brave.” She smiled and sidled over and hugged me. You are never too old to get a lump in your throat.

Pewter Heart
 I hugged her back, and thanked her for being so respectful of something that happened way before her birth. She will be a great asset to this country. All I had to give her in return was some shelled pecans that I had recently gathered, she smiled too. What an honor.

The following reflects the work of R.J. Rommel. Rudolph Joseph Rummel (October 21, 1932 – March 2, 2014) was professor emeritus of political science at the University of Hawaii. He spent his career assembling data on collective violence and war with a view toward helping their resolution, or elimination. 

Rummel coined the term "democide" to mean "murder by government" (compare genocide), and his research suggests that six times as many people died of democide during the 20th century than in all that century's wars combined. He concluded that democracy is the form of government least likely to kill its citizens and that democracies do not wage war against each other; that is the Democratic peace theory.

Deaths Since United States Withdrawal in 1975
* Up to 155,000 refugees fleeing the final NVA Spring Offensive were killed, or abducted, on the road to Tuy Hoa in 1975. 
* Sources have estimated that 165,000 South Vietnamese died in the re-education camps out of 1-2.5 million sent, while somewhere between 50,000 and 250,000 were executed.
Rummel estimates that slave labor in the "New Economic Zones" caused 50,000 deaths (out of a total 1 million deported).  
* According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, between 200,000 and 400,000 Vietnamese boat people died at sea, although Rummel cites estimates ranging from 100,000 to 1,000,000.  
* Including Vietnam's foreign democide, Rummel estimates that a minimum of 400,000 and a maximum of slightly less than 2.5 million people died of political violence from 1975-87 at the hands of Hanoi.  
* In 1988, Vietnam suffered a famine that afflicted millions. 
* Explosive remnants of war (ERW), especially bombs dropped by the United States, continue to detonate and kill people today. The Vietnamese government claims that unexploded ordnance has killed some 42,000 people since the war officially ended. 
* In 2012 alone, unexploded bombs and other ordnance claimed 500 casualties in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, according to activists and government databases. 
The United States has spent over $65 million since 1998, trying to make Vietnam safe. 

Agent Orange and similar chemical substances, have also caused a considerable number of deaths and injuries over the years, including the US Air Force crew that handled them. 

The government of Vietnam says that 4 million of its citizens were exposed to Agent Orange, and as many as 3 million have suffered illnesses because of it; these figures include the children of people who were exposed. 

The Red Cross of Vietnam estimates that up to 1 million people are disabled or have health problems due to contaminated Agent Orange.

In my humble opinion, fewer Vietnamese people would have died if we had not intervened in a war we couldn’t win. Most assuredly we would not have lost our precious youth, and contributed to the numbers of disabled from all wars. It was a very costly scrimmage between major powers. 

Although suffering high losses (not an issue for them) the Communist Party of China got to know us very well, they profited from the “police action.” 

The U.S. had to swallow its pride and retreat from an unwinnable war. We were supposed to have learned that we should make aggression the last option, and for validated causes only.

We can’t continue to waste lives and money for nothing. We need to be prepared and respected again ...

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

Feel free to comment on this post. You are also invited to write about anything you want to share. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history.

1 comment:

  1. Good information, as usual, Frank. Thanks for posting it. Indeed, our actions in Vietnam were tragic, and the aftermath even more so for the Vietnamese people. After much soul searching and study, one of my suggestions for addressing the dilemma you write about—our adventures in wars we can't win—is both counterintuitive, and politically fraught: I believe we need to revive a military draft. We've outsourced our wars, lost contact with our military, and that is never a good thing in a democracy. When our sons and daughters are exposed to the vicissitudes of our nation's foreign policy, we moms and dads are a lot more involved in the process, and sending our precious children away becomes consequential for everyone.
    Again, thanks for writing. I'll be interested in your response. (BTW, I was drafted back in '68)


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