This note from a good friend is interesting history about the Vietnam Wall. Also, I just discovered, read, and reviewed a VERY interesting, but little-known, book on Vietnam history. Phoenix and the Birds of Prey. Can it be that both sides have this hard-fought history wrong, and that America “learned” the wrong lessons for our military and foreign policy?
Comments welcomed, especially from Vietnam Vets.
Here is the book review I posted on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/review/R3IC0MWZ9BOXJJ?ref_=pe_620760_65501210
About the Wall. My best friend from that time, Captain Langford C. Metzger, USAF, is on the wall. I’ll always remember Lang. He was a good man, a trusted friend, and an American hero.
I’ll never forget the first time I saw the Wall myself, at night on a long-ago business trip to Washington. It was dark and, unlike most monuments, the Wall is subtle and understated. It merges into the ground and we had difficulty in finding it.
We saw a faint glow. As we got closer I could see that it was someone lighting matches to read names. A Vet and his son, I think. The night was totally silent. No one spoke. It seemed to be a separate, sacred place.
With me at the time was another friend, a Vietnamese scientist I worked with whose father had been the head of physiology at Saigon hospital. Tran was one of seven children. All of them got out at the end, either to France or America, but his father refused to leave his patients. So the youngest brother was designated to stay with him, and he did.
The Communists took over. They put Tran’s father into a reeducation camp, and his brother stayed to take care of him. For ten years. Finally, his father was released and they came home.
That was long ago now.
Today as I write this, one of the two people from that era most hated by our Vets, John Kerry, is America’s Secretary of State. And the other, Hanoi Jane, is still around, still proud of being photographed on an AA gun that killed Americans.
We signed a peace treaty and our troops came home. America promised South Vietnam continued air support and military aid, but we didn’t keep our promise.
There was this thing called, “Watergate.”
Nixon resigned in disgrace and the Senate, led by Joe Biden, cut off funding for military aid. The result was Communist conquest, followed by “The Killing Fields.”
I honor our Vets, and especially our heroes who died there or came back wounded. Vietnam is not over. We lost too many of our best there. We need to do a better job in America at honoring Exceptionalism, our Vets, and our Military.
I comment in some of my Thriller novels that America has not won a war since 1945. There are reasons for that. Reasons we should ponder and address if we expect to enjoy continued freedom and the America we love.
Freedom is NOT free. In Vietnam, 58,000 brave Americans died. Our military won every battle, but the Communists prevailed in the end.
Here are two good links about true history from Vietnam.
Link1 — A short summary of the Vietnam War.
Link2 — Stolen Honor (Full Video).
This from a friend who managed Chrysler Plants! All I can say is, “God Bless our heroes and God Bless America!”
When I was the Trenton Engine Plant Manager, our plant and the Woodhaven Ford Stamping Plant brought the “Moving Wall” to our grounds. It is a replica of the Wall in Washington. It was there for about a week. When I was approached about this project I was skeptical because we had to prepare the area for the Wall taking man hours and material away from our business. I had been so busy with my job I really knew little about the DC Wall let alone the Moving Wall. After pleading by many of our good employees I relented and agreed to have the Wall on our grounds.
While the Wall was there the vets from both plants would take turns standing 24 hour honor guard duty. Vets had a computer and they could research a name to tell a family where on the Wall their love one’s name appeared.
As I walked along the Wall each day and saw parents, grandparents, children of the deceased and friends going to the Wall and touching the name it gave me a great sense of humility and pride for our country plus sadness for these visitors. Many of these visitors related that they could never go to Washington to see the Wall. This was especially true of the elderly. To them Trenton, MI was Washington DC for that day.
As I read the information below I am again reminded of this wonderful week, which I never regretted for an instant, and of those families/friends who wept in front of the Wall, who traced the deceased name on a piece of paper, or just touched the Wall to connect to their fallen hero.
God bless them all and may they rest in God’s heavenly kingdom!!
The Viet Nam Wall–Things you never knew
A little history most people will never know.
Interesting Veterans Statistics off the Vietnam Memorial Wall
There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010. The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and within each date the names are alphabetized.
It is hard to believe it is 36 years since the last casualties. The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth, Mass. Listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965.
There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall. 39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger. 8,283 were just 19 years old. The largest age group, 33,103 were 18 years old. 12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old. 5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old. One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old.
997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam. 1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam. 31 sets of brothers are on the Wall. Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons. 54 soldiers attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia. I wonder why so many from one school. 8 Women are on the Wall. Nursing the wounded. 244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of them are on the Wall.
Beallsville, Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons. West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall. The Marines of Morenci – They led some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop. 5,058) had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring beer busts.In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail, stalked deer in the Apache National Forest. And in the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci’s mining families, the nine graduates of Morenci High enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966. Only 3 returned home.
The Buddies of Midvale – LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales were all boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. And they all went to Vietnam. In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed. LeRoy was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths. The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 – 2,415 casualties were incurred.
For most Americans who read this they will only see the numbers that the Vietnam War created. To those of us who survived the war, and to the families of those who did not, we see the faces, we feel the pain that these numbers created. We are, until we too pass away, haunted with these numbers, because they were our friends, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters.
There are no noble wars, just noble warriors.
Please pass this on to those who served during this time, and those who DO Care. I’ve also sent this to those I KNOW do care very much, and I thank you for caring as you do.
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