to search for ways to make a difference in your community at Op-Ed: The pandemic made my singing group hit pause. Most vivid memory: being wounded in a blast on patrol, along with a wartime buddy, Willie Henry, and not knowing what happened to his friend until 26 years later, “After two to three weeks of recovery, I was back out in the field and never did find out what happened to Willie. Here are three ways to help break through vaccine fears. They both submitted opinion pieces to the Roanoke Times newspaper that do a good job of telling how many Vietnam Veterans … His most recent book is “Enduring Vietnam: An American Generation and its War.”. Bob Wallace (far left) helps carry a 400-pound 106mm recoilless rifle through the streets of Huê´, Vietnam, during the Tet Offensive in 1968. Jim Doyle in Di An, South Vietnam, 1st Infantry Division base camp, 1969 (left); Doyle today. The day before Saigon fell on April 30, 1975, the last two U.S. servicemen died in the Vietnam War. The United States is a big country, and there are states where Vietnam Veterans were treated as true veterans of a foreign war. Both of us were in the 3rd Marine Division. Reducing the loan burden would help millions of students, but particularly Black and Latino graduates, who tend to receive lower wages, another manifestation of structural racism. I got a sidearm and bandolier ammunition. Harman was drafted in 1967 and served in Vietnam in 1969, as a crew chief and door gunner on a “Huey” helicopter for the Army. In the waning days of April, the number of people who died from COVID-19 in the United States surpassed the tally of those killed in the Vietnam War. About an hour later, he called me back at the hotel, and that was when we connected, 26 years later.” [Willie, it turns out, was in Chattanooga, Tenn.]. L.A. County on verge of becoming COVID-19 epicenter: ‘We are getting crushed’. Enforcement is a question. For many of the American Veterans of the war, the wounds of Vietnam will never heal. That war and this pandemic have each been marked by a pronounced inequitable sharing of the burden and the cost by the poor and by racial minorities. There are persistent stereotypes about Vietnam veterans as psychologically devastated, bitter, homeless, drug-addicted people, who had a hard time readjusting to society, primarily because of the uniquely divisive nature of the Vietnam War in the context of US history. We went in there in Vietnam and wasted 58,000 American lives and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese. Opinion ; Shame of Vietnam War still haunts veterans. I was in the bunker, the elevated bunker, and every eighth or ninth round was a tracer round — red or green. And to be frank, when I think back, I think, How did I get into this John Wayne movie, anyway?”. The Vietnam War was not random; it was the result of calculated choices. James Wright, a former Marine, is a historian and president emeritus of Dartmouth College. And in neither was there official national recognition of this or a pause for national mourning. ... Opinion… The first thought that came to mind was, Maybe I should have listened to my maintenance sergeant. Decoration Day started on May 30. Their remains would not be repatriated for nearly a year. Many news outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, have sought to put a human face on the COVID-19 tragedy, publishing profiles of some of the deceased, reminding the world what they had done with their lives and what remained for them to do. There was fire coming from the Vietnamese village across Highway 1. You will be asked to register or log in. Vietnam is something you have to experience firsthand to believe. The Vietnam War was the longest and most unpopular war in which Americans ever fought. We must act … What Americans should know: Too many lives, both American and Vietnamese, were lost. That was an easy call. And that gave us, in most cases, a significantly different view of the war than people who were in your typical American units, who simply viewed the Vietnamese as ‘the other guys,’ so to speak. The grief and the sorrow of their families was as profound as the grief of any family who lost a family member at Guadalcanal or the Battle of the Bulge or any of the other battlefields of our wars. As the COVID-19 death count continues to mount, it has had a cumulative and numbing effect, much like the counting of war dead. Are we so cynical now that $4.2 billion in charitable giving is taken as an indication of society’s ills? Trapping and neutering feral cats is our only ethical option to reduce the outdoor population of cats. Op-Ed: The social justice case for canceling college debt. Hordes of YouTube vigilantes awaited. The nation has been stunned by the many who have died in this pandemic. So every time I traveled through O’Hare, I would grab the phone book, back in the days when they still had phone books and pay phones, and I called every Henry in the Chicago phone book and relay the story: ‘So, do you know this guy, I’m trying to find him.’ ‘No, never heard of him.’. Members of Middletown’s Veterans of the Vietnam War gathered at the Connecticut State Cemetery for a wreath laying for their departed comrades Dec. 6. And I bent down below the sandbags with just my head and my helmet peering over, and I peed my pants.”. From time to time during the American war in Iraq which began in 2003, aging Vietnam veterans wearing baseball caps and khaki jackets emblazoned with pins, patches, and the … “When you serve in the military, you are taught discipline. Rivers served from 1969 to 1971, as an Army infantry officer advising a Vietnamese military infantry unit. related to AARP volunteering. I have been back to Vietnam, and it is altogether different from when I left 49 years ago.”. The L.A. Get thought-provoking perspectives with our weekly newsletter. by: Darrell Franklin. On my first assault mission, my aircraft was badly shot up, but we didn’t go down. But if you send me a letter addressed to Willie, I will forward it to him. If there is anything we’ve learned from the Vietnam War, it is that we haven’t learned anything from the Vietnam War.”. “The men and women who served in Vietnam were as important to our country as veterans who have ever served since the time of the American Revolution. In the wake of COVID-19, a mass move toward remote work could change L.A. and other cities — and affect housing prices, commuting and where people choose to live. We were Marines together in Vietnam and very good friends. The Vietnam War helped shape a generation of Americans, none more than the 2.7 million who served in Southeast Asia. With the surge showing no signs of slowing down, L.A. County facilities are preparing for how to allocate care in a crisis situation. Most states celebrate “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day” on March 29 or 30 of each year. The McMahon and Judge families had to delay saying farewell to their young sons. Five key legacies of the Vietnam War stand out as having shaped the nation -- and indeed, continue to do so today, writes Rudy deLeon. The first batches of COVID-19 vaccine have been reserved for healthcare workers and staff and residents of nursing homes. L.A. County outlines wrenching moves to ration healthcare if COVID-19 hospital crisis worsens. The dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1982 began the process, but many identify the Gulf War of 1990-91—with its national flag-waving, … WHEREAS, on March 28, 2017, President Donald Trump signed into law The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017, designating every March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans … Since singing is risky during the pandemic, my group went on hiatus. Most vivid memory: being caught under fire in his helicopter on his first mission, “I remember my maintenance sergeant trying to talk me out of becoming a crew chief, but I wasn’t listening. “All the people who fought the war weren’t responsible for making the war. Two Marines, Charles McMahon of Woburn, Mass., and Darwin Judge of Marshalltown, Iowa, were killed in a rocket attack. I didn’t know anything. If COVID-19 disproportionately strikes the elderly and the vulnerable, the Vietnam War disproportionately killed the young and the vital. 509 – Two Vietnam Veterans’ opinions about the war. Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images Op-Ed: How remote working in the post-COVID-19 era could transform L.A. and other cities. The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act, signed into law in 2017, designates March 29 of each year as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. I was on the board of Vietnam Veterans of America at that time. Flying more than 80 missions in Vietnam, Bartlett flew two combat missions in the Linebacker 2 campaign, which is credited with bringing an end to the Vietnam War … “We should have never gone into that war. Individual cases disappear into the whole. receive communications related to AARP volunteering. When we landed at 2 in the morning, we got out of that airplane — and understand, this is my first trip to Vietnam. Taken from John T. "Buzz"Noyes by John Lindquist: Buzz was born on International Women's Day, he was proud of that and always let people know, especially his girlfriends. The remembrances sometimes include heartrending stories of the many family members and friends who were unable to be with their loved ones at the end because of coronavirus-related restrictions. The official number fails to include the many veterans who died after the war as a result of lingering medical and emotional conditions. More Exxon Mobil Rewards+™ points on qualified purchases, WW will help you build a customized weight loss plan, Guaranteed rate of return on an exclusive 8-month term. In the mid-1980s, African American veterans of the Vietnam War were twice as likely as White veterans to experience posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), at a prevalence of 40%. “We fought in a very terrible war. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that empowers people to choose how they live as they age. AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly For years and years, I didn’t know how to get a hold of him. As our silent season continues, we and many others must forgo holiday performances. The tracers started coming over the guard shack where I was standing, 20 feet above the ground or so. Comments: 0. Vaccine hesitancy has a long history in the United States. On National Vietnam War Veterans Day, memories and opinions remain strong Len Kirchner, M.D., 83, of Litchfield Park, Ariz.. Kirchner entered the Air Force in 1961 at age 25. He served in... Keith Harman, 72, of Delphos, Ohio. Not all WWII vets did turn their backs. So you know when you saw tracers, there were a lot of bullets you didn’t see. “She says, ‘You got a message on your machine that I think you’re gonna want to hear.’ So she held the phone over the machine, and it was Willie, who called and said, ‘I got your letter.’ I called him and left a message on his machine. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try In 1971, he was named the Woburn “Boy of the Year.” He was 21 and died 11 days after arriving in Vietnam. Bob Muller, Vietnam Veterans Against the War Presented at a meeting of the Student Assembly of Columbia University Student Assembly, July 23, 1971. Twelve Marshalltown natives, from age 19 to 39, died in Vietnam. The company that I served with was told that we were going to Vietnam, so off we went. Sign up for AARP's twice-monthly Your Health newsletter for the latest on coronavirus and more, Many Vietnam veterans don't know they qualify for Agent Orange benefits, Vets urge President Trump to uphold ‘blue water’ benefits, 8-Month No-Penalty CD from Marcus by Goldman Sachs®. And so when the [Vietnam] memorial was built, I looked for his name, didn’t find his name, which was a good clue that he was still alive. Approximately 2.7 million American men and women served in Vietnam. Letters to the Editor: Empowering women is the best way to reduce childbirth deaths. In both crises, unspoken politics, personal ambition and arrogance too often have framed public statements as well as military and public health strategy. In the meantime, please feel free 1 of 5. Like most Vietnam Veterans, I returned home from the War to a somewhat hostile political environment in the United States. And when you think back during my lifetime, World War II, clearly the Japanese attack on Honolulu precipitated that. Editorial: Let L.A.'s feral cats get neutered and die out. “So in ‘96, a friend of mine was appointed to a job at the Department of Veterans Affairs as a deputy or assistant secretary for something or other. He was the Veterans of Foreign Wars national commander from 2017 to 2018. What Americans should know: Vietnam veterans served with as much sacrifice as any in American history. And if he wants to contact you, he can do that.’ So I did that, and about a month later I was in D.C. There is one lesson American citizens seem to have finally learned, between the Vietnam era and now: to thank in real time those who serve, whether it’s in war or during a pandemic. But who comes next? One is John Ketwig, a Bedford resident and the other is Keith Young, of Roanoke County. The ongoing war over the Vietnam Veterans Memorial ... Hart's opinion of Maya Lin's design was not motivated by race and gender. During the war, over 58,000 U.S. military members lost their lives and 153,000 were wounded. Kirchner entered the Air Force in 1961 at age 25. I am a combat-disabled Army veteran who served in Vietnam in 1968-69. Sign up for AARP's twice-monthly Your Health newsletter for the latest on coronavirus and more. A man points to a name while visiting the Vietnam War Memorial on Veterans Day in Washington on Nov. 10, 2017. I was infantry, in the field, fighting the most misunderstood and unpopular war in American history. Mike Tharp (middle) at the 16th Public Information Detachment. According to federal law, the United States' military involvement in the Vietnam War began in February 1961 and lasted until May 1975. We did what was asked of us, and we looked after those that we served with. Reasons for the disparity in PTSD prevalence could include social and racial discord during the war, institutional racism within the military, and racism after the war. I know I didn't believe what anybody told me about Vietnam before I went; it was something I had to go through myself. In honor of National Vietnam War Veterans Day on March 29, signed into law in 2017 by President Donald J. Trump, AARP spoke with six veterans of the war about their most vivid memories — and about what they want Americans today to know or remember. Public opinion about Vietnam: support for the war, protestors, veterans, military strategies, Johnson’s handling, and more. That Congress, supported by many citizens of this nation, cut support for the war in Vietnam — and cut the pride of those who fought it. Approximately 2.7 million American men and women served in Vietnam. Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union Veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. I developed great respect and affection for the Vietnamese when I was there. Letters to the Editor: Shame on wealthy trying to buy their way to the front of the vaccine line. What Americans should know: Most who served volunteered for duty. Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. Letters to the Editor: More billionaires should be like MacKenzie Scott and give away their fortunes. During the war, more than 58,000 servicemen and women lost their lives.Vietnam Veterans represent the largest cohort of American Veterans in terms of service era. There were no “thank you’s,” no parades and no “welcome homes.” ... Catch the latest in Opinion. Counterpoint. We served with honor and distinction.”, Doyle served from 1969 to 1970, as an Army infantry soldier, to “seek out, close with and destroy the enemy.”. Most vivid memory: being shot at for the first time, “I was on guard in a wooden tower on the front perimeter which faced Highway 1, which ran into Saigon about 30 miles south. More than 60% of the names on the Vietnam Memorial belong to those who were 22 or younger when they died. United States military involvement in the Vietnam War officially began on August 5, 1964; however, the first U.S. casualty in Vietnam occurred on July 8, 1959. Many observers have described the struggle against the pandemic as a “war.” The COVID-19 fight is not a war but a public health crisis, striking randomly. Harman was drafted in 1967 and served in Vietnam in 1969, as a … What Americans should know: Servicemen did what was asked and looked after one another. And I relayed the story to him, and he says, ‘Well, look, I can’t give you any information. Most vivid memory: his first time landing in Vietnam, after being stationed in Tokyo, “We had flown a 10-hour reconnaissance mission from Okinawa, along the coast of China, then into the Gulf of Tonkin, and did reconnaissance between Haiphong and Hainan Island, which was Chinese. And I was in my hotel room, and the phone rang, and it was my wife. | What Americans should know: Wandering into war doesn’t always end well. “Many Vietnam veterans did face the problem of coming back and being misdiagnosed and being misunderstood,” said Schnurr. A Vietnam veteran traces one of the nearly 60,000 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Yet time has proven Vietnam veterans to … John Rivers (second from right) after his final combat operation. again. Most vivid memory: fighting in the Battle of Huê´ during the 1968 Tet Offensive, “Many casualties on both sides, but exceptional esprit de corps by my fellow Marines.”. Opinion Political Op-Eds Social Commentary Our goal is to thank and honor America’s 6.4 million living veterans … Effects of war lasting for IP Vietnam veteran Local News. In April, President Trump said there was “light at the end of the tunnel.” Gen. William Westmoreland reported seeing a similar light in Vietnam in 1967. “Americans should know that those of us who fought in Vietnam answered our nation’s call, and most of us were volunteers. A notorious child rapist was released from prison. A Vietnam veteran traces one of the nearly 60,000 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Javascript must be enabled to use this site. And such tallies often don’t acknowledge that as many as 3 million Vietnamese died in that war. Low-income minority families hit hard by COVID-19 wait their turn for the vaccine as the wealthy try to buy their way to the front of the line. So going to war, I think, is one of those critical things that a president and Congress does. Zoo, campgrounds and playgrounds closed are again. Primarily because I had so much exposure to them and their families.”. The Marines are on Monkey Mountain, artillery is firing out into the jungle, there are flare ships dropping flares. He is now the executive director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Office in Washington, D.C. Some hotels and rental hosts may still be taking bookings that California has banned. Op-Ed: Stop dismissing all vaccine skeptics as anti-science conspiracy theorists. To the Editor: We, a group of Vietnam combat veterans currently in treatment, would like to comment on Joseph R. Kurtz Jr.'s Op-Ed article (March 10). We think of them today, Memorial Day, as we pause to remember and grieve for the nearly 60,000 U.S. service members who died in Vietnam — and the hundreds of thousands of other Americans who gave their lives in other wars. By 1969, more than half a million Americans were stationed in Vietnam. And every day. We never thought we’d still be silent in December. www.aarp.org/volunteer. Vietnam Veterans. What Americans should know: The men who fought didn’t create the war. You can also manage your communication preferences by updating your account at anytime. Vietnam, that was something that we just kind of wandered into over a period of years. Had they lived, these 22 men would be among the most vulnerable to COVID-19. The first combat troops arrived in 1965 and fought the war until the cease-fire of January 1973, America’s involvement in Vietnam actually lasted from 1957 until 1975. The Vietnam War was not random; it was the result of calculated choices. It’s hot and it's sticky. The growing popularity of YouTube in South Korea has led to questionable attempts by users to gain viewers, including promises of vigilante justice. Darwin Judge was 19. PTSD Treatments Not … Most of California bans vacation stays, but travelers, lodgings aren’t in line. The Veterans Affairs Department estimates we are losing more than 500 veterans per day who served during the Vietnam War years. He served in Southeast Asia as a physician and in combat missions from 1965 to 1971. Most vivid memory: personal relationships with Vietnamese soldiers and families, “We pretty much lived and worked with the Vietnamese. You'll start receiving the latest news, benefits, events, and programs related to AARP's mission to empower people to choose how they live as they age. Leaders in the 1960s also assured that we could wage the war without economic sacrifice, and today many insist that we can remain safe while enjoying economic and social freedom. You must be logged in to leave a comment. Excerpt From THE VETERAN: Now Online. Now, the American generation that suffered most in Vietnam is the most vulnerable to the coronavirus. surpassed the tally of those killed in the Vietnam War, nearly 60,000 U.S. service members who died in Vietnam, Westmoreland reported seeing a similar light, L.A. County on verge of becoming COVID-19 epicenter. Just as the COVID-19 dead have likely been undercounted, so have the U.S. military dead in Vietnam. The second nation conflict was Korea, and Harry Truman made a decision to stop the aggression from the North into the South. Len Kirchner examines a Thai boy during civic action (left); Kirchner in his dress uniform. I had a good guardian angel and continued to fly for the remainder of my tour.”. It reminds me of the way the Vietnam veterans were treated on their return from the war. In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails Explore more records, information, articles and resources at the National Archives organized by subject area. Posted: Nov 11, 2020 / 08:08 PM CST / Updated: Nov 11, 2020 / 10:28 PM CST. “We appeal to North Vietnam, if they really want peace, to stop bombing the United States — or else get the hell out of Vietnam!” stated a group named Veterans for Peace in Vietnam. I think the bottom-line lesson is that we should not go to war unless it is clearly in our national interest, and there are very few places that would qualify for that in the world.”. Wallace served in the Marine Corps as an infantryman. The impact of the anti-War protests across the nation in the late 1960s and early 1970s fostered an anti-Vietnam Veteran atmosphere here at home that lasted for nearly 20 years after the war ended. And when I speak of Agent Orange, about 4 million Vietnamese were exposed to Agent Orange, and several hundred thousand of them died, and many of their children and grandchildren are messed up because of it. He had been an Eagle Scout; a high school teacher described him as “rock stable.” Judge had arrived in Vietnam the month before he died. Tharp served in the Army from 1969 to 1970 and was a correspondent for an Army magazine called the Hurricane. A veteran of the U.S. Army, he served during the Vietnam War.” Or Vietnam veterans will write letters to the editor, sometimes pleading for better medical care. Over 1,500 people die in one week — a staggering number that represents nearly 7% of the state’s more than 22,000 total coronavirus-related fatalities. The focus is on the number, not our fellow citizens. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits. Keith Harman in a Huey Helicopter during the Vietnam War (left); Harman on his return visit to Vietnam in 2017. Jan 30, 2016 at 2:05 PM . Charles McMahon had been active in the Boys Club in Woburn where he excelled as a swimmer and taught and mentored young boys. We need to do that today. And for some reason, I thought he was from Chicago. In the chaos of the U.S. withdrawal, the bodies of the two Marines were left behind. And we haven’t done a decent job, since World War II and Korea, in debating and articulating what the mission was and what our goal was and what our strategy was.”. What’s open and closed in SoCal amid state’s stricter stay-home rules. The commemoration was authorized by Congress, under DoD auspices, and launched at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 2012. In this episode the opinions of two Vietnam Veterans from Virginia are featured. The COVID-19 and Vietnam eras do share unfortunate similarities, including officials ignoring reports and warnings, and confidently insisting on their capacity to control events. Ten Woburn residents between the ages of 18 and 29 also died in the war. When Vietnam War veteran Michael Kelley finally finished writing his memoir last year, an accomplishment 40 years in the making, he was by no means hoping it … Those who did not come back alive made as great a sacrifice as any solider who died at Iwo Jima or Omaha Beach or any of the other major battles of World War II. by Aaron Kassraie, AARP, March 28, 2019 “I think the most important thing is that going to war is such an important decision made by our political leaders. You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. Already, hospitals are struggling to keep up with the pace of new COVID-19 patients. For those of us who served, our experiences as soldiers was very similar in many respects to the soldiers who fought in other wars.”. Members of that once-young baby boomer generation are now senior citizens. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. 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