When President Kennedy lost his life fifty years ago this month our country lost its direction. The nation under new leadership became more involved in South Vietnam. But the war was mismanaged and bungled. After the U.S pullout in 1972 the Communist forces violated every agreement and launched a full scale invasion in late 1974 into 1975. South Vietnam and Cambodia were lost with some 2 million executed. The congress did what the antiwar groups wanted. The groups said “stop the bombing” and “give peace a chance”. The result was a Communist peace consisting of death. The anti-war protestors were nowhere to be seen when these events took place. Our congress had abandoned our allies. What nation could ever trust the U.S. again?
The four painful lessons of Vietnam were the following: 1. never send your young men off to war without letting them win, 2. earn the support of the American people, 3. have clear objectives, and lastly ensure that the people you are supposed to be helping must be fully involved to fight for their freedom and led by leaders who care about their people.
The courage shown by our service men from our county in Vietnam was just as honorable as in previous conflicts. They are honored as well with a memorial at the courthouse. President Reagan during his addresses at the Vietnam Memorial honored those who died in that war and honored those who survived. He welcomed them back and helped to restore their dignity. He also stated that we must never forget the thousands of POW and missing in action.
The veterans of the Gulf Wars, and Afghanistan –a conflict still in progress- deserve our thanks, support and prayers. Their mission to attack the backers of the 9-11-01 attacks is vital to stop future attacks. Also, we need to remember all of those who serve our country around the world.