Tuesday, March 29, 2011

MARCH 30: REMEMBER "WELCOME HOME VIETNAM VETERANS DAY"

Submitted by REES LLOYD

"Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day" observances will be held formally in many areas of the country today, March 30, informally in many other areas, and totally ignored in many if not most other areas, except in posts of veterans’ services organization like The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and other VSO's.

The U.S. House and Senate have by resolutions recognized March 30 as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day annually. The observance began at the grass roots, as Americans began to remember and regret the way that Vietnam Veterans, who served honorably when their country called, were treated when they came home.

Many returning troops were vilified. Leftist demonstrators burned the American Flag and marched under the Viet Cong Flag and large photos of Ho Chi Minh, the leader of Communist Vietnam. Troops were called "baby killers," "war criminals," and were sometimes insulted and spit upon by self-righteous demonstrators of proclaiming their love of peace with snarls, raised fists, and epithets.

Even heroes in Vietnam like Tommy Franks, who later would become General Tommy Franks and serve as allied commander in the war against terrorism in Iraq, was advised when he came home from Vietnam not to wear his uniform, as were most troops, due to the hatred that had been manufactured not just against the war, but against those sent to fight it.

The political atmosphere was poisoned by people like John Kerry and Jane Fonda. The wealthy and privileged daughter of movie star Henry Fonda, Jane, who first became famous taking her clothes off in the movie “Barbarella," infamously aided and abetted the communist enemy by using her movie starlet celebrity to travel to Hanoi where, among other things, she posed with a big smile and a steel helmet at the helm of a communist anti-aircraft gun. Meanwhile, Americans were dying in battle, and P.O.W. pilots shot down by such guns like the legendary Bud Day, Admiral James Stockdale, Admiral Jeremiah Denton, John McCain, Leo Thorsness, Robbie Robinson, Everett Alvarez, Jr., the longest serving of all, and so many more, were being terribly tortured in the "Hanoi Hilton" by the communists to whom charming then-communist Jane gave fond, smiling, and self-righteous aid and comfort.

John Kerry, in his short four months on a Swift Boat in Vietnam, bragged that he would be the "second JFK from Massachusetts," and brought along his own camcorder to film staged acts of daring do for the camera and voters back in liberal Mass. Kerry, as a leader of Vietnam Veterans Against The War, infamously gave self-promoting false testimony before the U.S. Congress of witnessing atrocities by American troops in Vietnam. That testimony, utterly false, garnered him national and international publicity.

However, when his successor in command of the Swift Boat, John E. O'Neil, outraged at Kerry's lies, repeatedly and publicly challenged Kerry to provide names, dates, places, and other evidence that could verify Kerry's charges against other troops, Kerry was able to provide absolutely no evidence.

After falsely tainting those who served in Vietnam as war criminals who committed atrocities, Kerry whose hypocrisy is exceeded only by his self-serving opportunism and political ambition, made his political career by citing his service in Vietnam, and hoping his disgusting false testimony would be forgotten. When Kerry became the Democrat Party nominee to challenge George Bush for President in 2004, his campaign, among other things, searched out and bought up every copy they could find of the book celebrating Kerry's anti-war antics and testimony denigrating Vietnam troops before Congress.

Faced with the prospect of Kerry actually becoming commander-in-chief, John O'Neil co-authored with Jerome Corsi the best-selling book: "Unfit For Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry. O'Neil and Corsi detailed Kerry’s despicable, self-serving words and deed. Kerry and the Democrats condemned "Unfit For Command,” but were unable to refute the facts that O'Neil and Corsi exposed.

Although posturing as one who should be elected because he served, Kerry then zealously refused to make public his military service record with the same adamant refusal that current President Obama has refused to release his college records at Occidental College and even his birth certificate. Kerry blamed his loss to George Bush in major part on the Swift Boaters revelations. To this day Democrat leaders wring their hands and bemoan that Kerry was "Swift Boated." Yet, also to this day, they have been unable to refute the facts alleged against Kerry in "Unfit For Command." If you think that "Unfit For Command" was just a scurrilous hit piece full of rumor and innuendo, then I urge you to take the challenge: Read "Unfit For Command,” and then attempt to refute it. Kerry couldn't refute the facts asserted, because the facts are true; and Kerry is "unfit for command."

Indeed, not for nothing have the North Vietnamese Communists placed large photos of John Kerry and Jane Fonda in prominent display in their "War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City" in an exhibit honoring "heroes" who had helped them "win the war against the United States."

The top communist General Giap has admitted that the communists would have collapsed after their defeat in the famed Tet Offensive, but for the fact of the acts of the so-called peace movement and the media which turned Americans against the war. Among those who provided such saving support for the communists were, Kerry, Fonda, and the media icon Walter Cronkite. The avuncular television anchor Cronkite, touted as the "most trusted man in America," misperceived Tet as a victory of the communists. When Cronkite and publicly broadcast his opinion after Tet that the war could not be won, President Lyndon Johnson reportedly said that Cronkite's broadcast statements, no matter how in accurate, meant that the war was "lost." Giap said that the communists realized that all they had to do was to hold on long enough for the communists, socialists, and other supporters of the Vietnamese communists in the peace movement to turn the American people against the war. That happened. Congress cut off funding for the war in 1975, and the communists took Saigon, soon renamed Ho Chi Minh City.

SSG Robert Pilk, KIA June 19, 1970
It has been written that Vietnam War was one in which American troops won every battle, but lost the war. Adm. Jeremiah Denton, seven-years, seven-months a P.O.W. in Vietnam, second only to Everett Alvarez in time served as a P.O.W., strongly refutes the contention that the American military "lost" the Vietnam War.

"The American military did not lose the Vietnam War -- Congress lost the war, when it refused to fund the South Vietnamese forces to resist the communists," he states. He makes a forceful argument concerning what was done, and what needs to be done, in the new epilogue to his book, "When Hell Was In Session," detailing the inhumanity of the communists who unmercifully tortured American prisoners of war in complete violation of the Geneva Accords while Kerry, Fonda, Cronkite, and the leftist so-called peace movement gave the communists aid and comfort. WorldNetDaily Books has issued a new edition of Adm. Denton's book.

Maj. General Patrick H. Brady (USA, ret.), a "dust off" helicopter ambulance pilot who rescued over 5,000 wounded in more than 2,500 combat missions and received the Medal of Honor in Vietnam, agrees with Admiral Denton's assessment, and, in his book details what was ignored during and after the Vietnam War: What Gen. Brady calls the unprecedented "humanitarian acts of American troops in Vietnam."

"No warriors have committed more humanitarian acts during war, and not just after war -- building medical facilities and providing medical care, building schools and other community facilities for the Vietnamese civilians, committing countless acts of kindness --than did the men and women of the American armed forces in Vietnam. That is America's victory in Vietnam," states Gen. Brady. He details those humanitarian acts of those who fought in Vietnam, generally unknown to Americans in the Vietnam era and in this era, in his Book, "DEAD MEN FLYING: Victory in Viet Nam--The Legend of Dust Off, America’s Battlefield Angels."

"The irony is," Gen. Brady adds, "is that while the men and women of the American military committed more humanitarian acts in war than in any other war, no Americans who have served when our country called them to serve in war have been so shamed, degraded, vilified, when they came home not to a grateful nation, but a nation ungrateful for their service and sacrifice. That is a continuing shame."

Some 58,000 Americans died in the Vietnam War. Many more suffered wounds, some of them terrible, life-changing wounds. Many, many continue to suffer today from the effects of Agent Orange, or post traumatic stress syndrome. As the saying goes, some gave all, all gave some.

Starting from a grassroots movement, March 30 is now being served in many areas, but not all, as "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day." Take a moment. Call your local American Legion, VFW, or other veterans’ organization and find out what observances are being held.

Or just take a moment to thank a Vietnam veteran, and speak in a belated attitude of gratitude, words too long delayed, but much appreciated: "Welcome home."

[Rees Lloyd is a longtime civil rights attorney, a Vietnam-era veteran, and a veterans activist.]

Best Buds


Lew, 1969 An Son Vietnam

Small Church, midway between An Khe and Pleiku
April 1970, Sapper Attack, An Khe
Lane Army Heliport, An Son Vietnam

2 comments:

Justin said...

This really is an outstanding post. I just regret that I didn't get around to reading it yesterday. I'll definitely be sharing this one on FB and the RSS Ronald Reagan.

Lew Waters said...

Justin, the resolution did not receive much media coverage. It will take a little time to spread word, so feel free to share as you desire.