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View Diary: Morning Open Thread: Paris Peace Accords Ending The Vietnam War Signed 40 Years Ago Today (98 comments)

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  •  I remember those days well. (7+ / 0-)

    A couple of years ago, one of the traveling replica black walls came to our city.  I went late one the first afternoon it was here.  The first name I looked for was one of my high school friends.  The last time I saw him was the night we graduated together, but the last time I talked to him was outside chemistry class a few days before graduation.  He was deployed on September 30, 1965 and flew his first mission that day.  He disappeared in his F-4 Phantom on September 30, 1965.  Shot down by a SAM missile.  They finally found the crash site in 1985, twenty years almost to the day.  His remains were identified and he was repatriated home where he is now buried in the National Cemetery nearest his home.

    When I went to see that traveling black wall exhibit, the first name I looked for was his.  I had my granddaughter with me, and she had never seen her PawPaw cry.  She hugged me and tried to comfort me.  


    The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

    by Otteray Scribe on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 03:59:03 AM PST

    •  I have never seen the Wall (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Otteray Scribe, JaxDem, DeadHead, BOHICA

      nor had a desire to though I knew several of the names there.  Really can't say why except to note that sometimes, doors closed once should not be opened again; they tend to creak open all too often on their own

      •  You know, entlord (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Otteray Scribe, DeadHead, DaNang65, BOHICA

        no one from my hometown, Hartsville, died over there.  I always thought that we beat the odds, but I have no idea what the odds were in the first place.

        As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

        by JaxDem on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 04:16:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My Home town was Berkeley CA (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JaxDem, BOHICA

          13 people from my howntown died. (I knew 2 of them) I remember when they had the ceremony to honor them---in 1992. it was protested.
          Whenever people insult Berkeley about all the protests I always ask them how many from their hometown died in Vietnam.

          Happy just to be alive

          by exlrrp on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 04:51:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  He died on his first mission on his first day (6+ / 0-)

      in country.  Any death is horrible and for sure his family was crushed, but those who die their first days there or those who die just days before leaving always seemed to me would be that much harder to take.

      I'm glad they found his remains and he is home again.  The work done by the folks at Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office earn them angel wings imo.

      Loved the piece by Dave Van Ronk ;)

      Did you get some snow the other day?

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 04:14:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We got a bit of snow, (7+ / 0-)

        but mostly freezing drizzle.  My daughter managed to do a 360 down by the grade school when she braked for a stop sign.  She was in her 4WD truck which has all weather tires, but black ice is black ice.  Fortunately she did not hit anything because no one else was venturing out much.  It warmed up above freezing yesterday, so it all melted.  

        She just came in from work.  It is a full moon, so they had a bad night down at the jail.  Inmates broke off sprinklers, damaged property and one female officer was attacked.  As my daughter put it, the female booking officer, "Went all Donkey Kong on them," when one of the inmates grabbed her thigh.  Now the four guys involved are facing additional felony charges.  She said it took every trustee and all the officers on duty to get the flooded cell block cleaned up. Apparently by the time she got off work, the entire Sheriff's department staff's nerves were fried.  She has gone off to bed to try and get some sleep.

        I got an email from my son, who said he could always tell when it is a full moon.  His ER looked more like a zoo than a hospital.  

        The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

        by Otteray Scribe on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 04:25:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  They laid out there (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BOHICA, JaxDem, Joy of Fishes, DaNang65, exlrrp

        in that fetid stinking jungle for twenty years before he and his back-seater were found. I have had dreams about that,  none of them good.  He was a Captain when shot down, but was promoted posthumously to Major while he was still listed as MIA.  His stone in the National Cemetery says Major.  Wish he could have lived to know he would be promoted.

        The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

        by Otteray Scribe on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 04:42:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Went to a traveling wall in 1989 (4+ / 0-)

      As I tried to approach the apex, I couldn't do it. It was like there was a force field keeping me away.

      When the Oregon Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated, they played taps and my legs went out from under me just like the cemetery scene in Saving Private Ryan. Weirdest thing.

      Hobbs: "How come we play war and not peace?" Calvin: "Too few role models."

      by BOHICA on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 04:34:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I made it to the parking lot, (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BOHICA, JaxDem, exlrrp, Otteray Scribe

        got out of the car, and quickly turned around, bawling.

        I don't know if I'll ever have what it takes to see it.

        “Perhaps the most 'spiritual' thing any of us can do is simply to look through our own eyes, see with eyes of wholeness, and act with integrity and kindness.” Jon Kabat-Zinn

        by DaNang65 on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 05:16:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  This rant came from my next visit (8+ / 0-)

          A few historical inaccuracies but, "Fuck it. It don't mean nothin'"

          This was written several years ago when the “Traveling Wall” stopped at Ft. Vancouver. My opinion hasn’t changed much.

          I got out the old Jungle Fatigue blouse with the combat patches and headed over to Fort Vancouver to the Traveling Viet Nam Veterans Memorial Wall. It's billed as "The Wall that Heals". Not this Veteran, not this time. I went because I knew that I would never make it to Washington D.C. for the real thing. It was early and the crowds hadn't shown up yet. It took me two times to get past the emotional force field The Wall throws up at you. I managed to control most of the feeling welling up from my soul. The one I could not keep down was a profound sense of anger. I was angry with myself for being a brainwashed idiot in my youth. I was angry at all of the lying sons of bitches politicians that got us into that meatgrinder. I was angry at the anti and pro war sides that were duped by the aforementioned sons of bitches. And then there were the French colonial masters.

          Having been raised in the 50s and 60s on a diet of anti-communism, movies glorifying war, Boy Scout oaths, and history written and taught by the winners, I was ripe for the picking. I had no idea that Ho Chi Mihn was our ally or that the promised elections of 1956 were called off because of US intervention. I had no idea that Viet Nam and China hated each others guts and were only allies in this conflict because the US had left the Vietnamese with no where else to turn. Why was I so clueless? Because it was not in the best interest of the lying sons of bitches who talk a good game of national self determination but haven't got the guts to let it happen. Why was the election of 1956 not allowed to happen? Because Uncle Ho would have won that’s why!!! The South Vietnamese government was corrupt and incapable of representing the people. It is that simple. But they were OUR corrupt incompetent dictatorial bastards and would be supported come hell or high water. Well hell came soon enough and the monsoons brought the high water. Were any of the history classes going to teach this? Of course not. Had I known all of this history would I still have enlisted? I could say I might have at least with open eyes instead of having that “Bright Shining Lie” blinding me.

          How can one be angry at both the anti and pro war factions? Easy, they were so wrapped up fighting each other they lost sight of the real tragedy, we were destroying a country and hundreds of thousands of people in the name of America The Self Righteous. The anti-war side abandoned the principles of non-violence and truth by engaging in destruction and immoral tactics. Calling the parents of a recent casualty and calling him a baby killer was abhorrent, although this may have been a conterintelpro game. One never knows. The returning veterans knew the truth; they could have helped stop the madness. Although many of them did, the vast majority retreated into themselves or worse, into self-destructive behavior.

          The pro-war faction was so caught up in patriotic flag waving brought on by fancy speeches by the lying sons of bitches and revulsion at the tactics of the anti-war factions that they too were blinded by the lies. The two sides could not find or even think of finding common ground. And that common ground was the useless waste of human life so the lying sons of bitches could get reelected and their military industrial complex cronies could make tons of money in the name of freedom. What a crock! For ten years the money just kept rolling in, why stop a good thing?

          And now the French colonial masters. How I despised those pompous, chauvinistic, self-righteous failures.
          They lost in 1876 to the Germans and couldn't stop thinking about how to get in another war so they could win next time. Well they got it, WW I, the war to end all wars, a war so horrible their soldiers went on strike (a good move on the soldiers part). Cue the US Calvary to the rescue. This set the stage for round 2 with the treaty of Versailles; make conditions so wretched in Germany that hate would rise to the top, which it did. After failing to stop the Nazis when they took back the Reihnland they folded like a wet paper bag. With the end of WW II they had to have their colonies back. Why? Because they are pompous, chauvinistic, self-righteous failures.  Can't let the Brits have colonies and not themselves. Of course our lying sons of bitches caved in even though FDR had set a policy of self-determination for all former colonies. We won't get into the Philippines as that's a different story and of course they were OUR colony. So the French get back Indochina, rule with an iron hand and set the stage for their second Waterloo also known as Dien Bien Pho. The United Nation partitions the country, sets up elections for 1956 and the rest is now history. Although it will never be taught like this in a US history class.

          That's why I'm angry.

          BOHICA
          US Army 1967-1970
          Republic of Viet Nam 1968-1969

          Hobbs: "How come we play war and not peace?" Calvin: "Too few role models."

          by BOHICA on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 05:21:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I have been to the wall. (5+ / 0-)

        Looking at the names and knowing every one of them represents a vibrant human being who had hopes and dreams and who left behind family, friends, and community grieving for them ... the weight of the sorrow overwhelms.

        I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble.

        by Joy of Fishes on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 05:46:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yup (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JaxDem, Otteray Scribe, BOHICA

        Can't go near the Wall or the Traveling Wall either BOHICA. As one commenter on a helicopter diary here some weeks ago said as the discussion centered on when the Viet Nam war ended, "It never ended". It was a woman who made that comment and I felt at that time she was probably referring to her spouse with PTSD. Whatever the things are that trigger the sadness/rage at the waste/ loss they do come at random times and never seem to ever go away. Last weekend I broke out sobbing when they sang "Bring Them Home" in Les Miserable. Sometimes you don't come home either dead or alive.

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