Veterans Day: A reminder of Boomer sacrifices in Vietnam

Bunker Vietnam War

“Home is where you dig” was the sign over the fighting bunker of Private First Class Edward, Private First Class Falls and Private First Class Morgan of the 1st Battalion, 7th Regiment, during Operation Worth., 1968 [in Vietnam]. (Photo and caption: National Archives; the U.S. Marine Corps)

Government reformers—libertarians and some moderate conservatives—often beat a similar drum on one topic. Criticizing the Boomer generation because of anticipated costs in government-mandated social programs. My generation’s numbers were big, and we are living longer.

Those same reformers overlook a number of issues, but first and foremost are the numbers my generation lost in the Vietnam “conflict” we on Main Street called a “war” all along.

More than 58,000 U.S. troops died in the war largely prosecuted by Democrats. President Lyndon B. Johnson escalated the number of troops; the official goal was to contain communism. Politics hamstrung the U.S. effort, with a domestic rebellion by leftists against the war and the “establishment.”

At that time in our history, there was an allegiance to freedom. At the onset of the war, the populace didn’t question it. By the time the war ended, we were weary of seeing young men and women head off to war. Almost everyone in my home town knew someone who’d been killed or injured in that war. The average age of those killed in the war was 23 years.

The oft-criticized Boomer generation accomplished many things for our country, and Vietnam was one of them. In that war, our government did not live up to the honor and service our troops displayed.

All veterans deserve our support. Those who fought in Vietnam, however, didn’t receive a lot of public support when they came home, largely due to a misinformation campaign that benefited the enemy. Celebrities like Jane Fonda were instrumental in that propaganda so useful to the communists.

This Veterans Day, I offer appreciation to any man or woman who has served in the U.S. military, and I offer special appreciation to those who marched off to Vietnam and returned to no victory parades, no accolades, and false information spread by many in the political class and those we now call legacy media.

Falsehoods about Vietnam are plentiful, as Sec. of State John Kerry could confirm. The Vietnam Helicopter Flight Crew Network maintains a Web page that corrects the record on a number of false claims by academics and media.

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Nov. 11, 2013)

About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.
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