Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day; March 30th

| March 14, 2011

In the event that you haven’t heard, the Senate passed a resolution last week proclaiming March 30th “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day”. Introduced to the Senate by North Carolina Republican Richard Burr, the date is meant to commemorate March 30th, 1973 when the last combat troops withdrew from South Vietnam;

“I’m pleased that the Senate has agreed to set aside a day to give our Vietnam veterans a warm, long-overdue welcome home. I strongly encourage communities throughout North Carolina and across the country to observe this day with activities and events that honor these veterans for their service. It’s time they receive the recognition they have earned and deserve. This day also provides our nation with an important teaching moment. Never again should our men and women serving in the armed forces receive the same treatment as those returning from Vietnam,” said Senator Richard Burr.

As I’ve always said, Vietnam veterans were truly the greatest generation. Not only did they fight a ruthless enemy in a ruthless terrain, they came home to face a largely ungrateful nation. In a final spit in their collective face, Jimmy Carter, on his first day in office, gave amnesty to the draft-dodging cowards who fled from their duty after 17,725 combat deaths in Vietnam were draftees. 5,997 Reservists, 101 National Guardsmen and 8 women were killed in action. From a 1993 survey, 91% of veterans of actual combat and 90% of those who saw heavy combat are proud to have served their country. 66% of Viet vets say they would serve again, if called upon.

My service began in the closing months of our involvement, so my training was conducted largely by Vietnam veterans. The fact that I survived two decades in the infantry around the world was largely due to these guys and their experience. I’ll forever be grateful and humble to the Vietnam generation. Those who are with us and those who’ve passed on to recon for us once again.

Category: Veterans Issues

Comments (23)

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  1. USMC Steve says:

    Somehow getting an attaboy from Congress is kinda like getting kissed by your ugly sister. Doesn’t mean much.

  2. Old Trooper says:

    I work with one of those draft dodgers who went to Canada. He hasn’t said anything to me, however, he has proudly proclaimed it to others here. If he so much as whispers it to me, I will drill him so hard his yapper won’t be able to hold oatmeal. But that’s just me.

  3. BooRadley says:

    well said OT.

  4. My welcome home was in two parts – after Desert Storm THOSE vets invited us to participate in their parade. I walked the route with a friend who’d lost his leg in VN. There was a lot of grinning going on!

    The second welcome was on March 17, 2007. After busting our asses for several weeks to bring GoE off we weren’t really sure what to expect. We truly didn’t know whether or not we were heading for a fall.

    The Wall, and those thousands who heard the call made that cold day warm where it counted.

    This resolution don’t mean nothin’ alongside those welcomes.

  5. Anonymous in Jax says:

    I’d like a link to this 1993 survey you speak of, Jonn. Unless I can read who they surveyed and how they came up with these numbers, it doesn’t mean much to me. They could have a totally skewed population sample.

  6. harp1034 says:

    March 30, 1973 was when the last troops period left. The infantry, armor, artillery were already long gone. After that the only military personnel were with the U.S. Embassy.

  7. Jonn Lilyea says:

    Normally, I would provide the link, but because it’s you, Crystal, Google it.

  8. Anonymous in Jax says:

    Well, aren’t you just a ray of sunshine today, Jonn? I’ll Google it later.

  9. PintoNag says:

    Somebody PLEASE post a link to the survey. The only thing I can find so far for a 1993 survey has to do with PTSD and suicide.

  10. DaveA says:

    AIJ, I am a Vietnam combat vet, I also was drafted, I also continued to serve for another 20 plus years and yes, Jonn is right about the survey he cited, the vast majority of Vietnam Veterans would indeed serve again if asked, even though we are highly skeptical of our government we still believe devoutly in this country and the principles upon which we were founded. My son is serving as a SNCO and will retire in about 6 years or so unless the new chicken shit army pisses him off. The army will dither on and chase a lot of good NCO’s and officers out in the name of political correctness. This resolution is long overdue, though we were publicly welcomed home after Desert Storm by “Stormin Norman” Schwarzkopf.

  11. Anonymous in Jax says:

    DaveA,

    Thank you for your service during the Vietnam War. I am very grateful for your sacrifice, but with that being said, you cannot say that the vast majority of Vietnam Vets would indeed serve again if asked without PROOF. Without a factual survey (one that has a good representative sample and is done completely randomly) you cannot say that most vets would do it again. I understand and appreciate your opinion, but I want to see the survey. And like PintoNag, I cannot find the survey that Jonn speaks of. Upon my Google search, I also came up with one that talks about PTSD and suicide, and I found 1 or 2 others….but nothing like what Jonn describes. Jonn, could you please find it out of the goodness of your heart to post a link? Otherwise, I’ll simply dismiss your statements as another opinion.

  12. PintoNag says:

    Okay, have found a starting point. First, here is the quote taken from the indicated survey:
    “…(did you know that 66% of Vietnam vets say they would serve again if called upon?)…”

    This is the link where I found this quote:
    http://www.stfrancis.edu/content/en/student/Mukherjee%20Vietnam_Veterans.html

    The link for the survey is next, but it doesn’t seem to be working:
    http://www.no-quarter.org/html/jake.html

  13. 1AirCav69 says:

    My whole post-Vietnam life, after a few years of being crazy, (alcohol, drugs, 1%er MC Club, biker chics, college, then more college), was spent working with Vietnam Vets, and active duty military. I would say that even if there is no survey those numbers would be correct. The VAST majority of my patients always stated they would do it again if they had the choice and I feel that way too. Except for my present day Vietnam Vet buddies…the only buddies I have, I have never been closer to men then I was in Vietnam. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Why do you, Jax, find it so difficult to believe that we wouldn’t do it again? This question was posed in many many group therapy sessions and the overwhelming majority of ALL my patients responded that they would, even knowing what they know now. It’s called pride. I hope you don’t believe the hype about us that we all just sit around and cry about our experience. We laugh and cry about it as all Combat Veterans do. We don’t wear fatigues and hang out at The Wall doing drugs and begging for hand outs. It took most of us awhile but we began doing everything every other vet does, we went on with our lives. Just ask who owns Fed Ex. I could go on forever but let me say this. It was a no brainer to fight in WWII. We had been attacked. But think of the hutzbah it takes to volunteer for a war even when all the press says it’s for nothing and your peers hate your guts for serving, yet there were more volunteers, per capita, for the Vietnam War than WWII. Why…so many of us were sons of WWII vets and believe it or not, thought it was our duty to serve. Because our peers and the government screwed us, that doesn’t mean we are not so proud of what we did, that we wouldn’t do it again. Gnaw on that.

    Now, for some fun that Jax will hate. My first mental health job was in a psyc unit of a civilian hospital. One of the nurses was having a party and invited me. When I got there everyone was acting weird. Eventually this nurse introduces me to this guy and says, “Tom, he just returned from Canada.” I said, “on vacation?” “No, he says, everyone told me you’re a Vietnam Vet and I just want to set the air clear. I’m a returning draft dodger.” I replied, “Well, you must be very proud of being a coward because that’s exactly what you are. These people here may be able to accept your being a coward but I don’t. It’s not my party so I can’t throw you out and only out of respect for the host I’m not going to beat the living shit out of you, but this is a warning. If you live in this town everytime I see you I’m going to beat your cowards ass. If you see me on the street, run. If your in your car, getaway fast because your ass is mine.” Then I left. It is how I feel about them today. Sorry for the rant, and it’s nice that Congress wants to make us feel good, but we already do.

    Remember, it’s the Vietnam Vets that said Never again will Veterans come home unappreciated. It was we that welcomed home those from Grenada and Pannama. It was we that welcomed home those of Desert Storm, and we continue to day with those from Iraq and Afghanistan, and we will do it until the day we die. That’s our legacy to the U.S. NEVER AGAIN!

    Sorry for the rant.

    Honor and Courage

  14. Spigot says:

    Jax, I served in SVN, Jan 1970-71. I was a volunteer, and was proud to serve in a combat unit…fighting…not a REMF.

    And I came back to serve again…went to college on the GI Bill, joined Army ROTC my last two years, and was commissioned a Regular Army Officer, and retired in 1999.

    And have continued to serve as a DOD contractor since retiring.

    Proof…don’t have it, but I’d say you have a bit of a trend going here. I never, ever, regretted service in SVN or my military career…never needed or sought “thanks” or sympathy from anyone…I was, and remain, a professional.

    As for this belated “honor” from congress…meh…whatever.

    And 1stAirCav69, thanks, Brother, for saying what you did to the POS with the yellow streak up the middle of his back. You and I think alike with regard to those pathetic excuses for “men”.

  15. james says:

    There were many after 9/11 who cursed the old age keeping them from mounting up and getting it on again.

  16. DaveO says:

    Gentlemen and ladies,

    Thank you.

    Had the privilige of serving with your peers in Afghanistan. Some of them pushed the 60yo limit, and other than being ornery cusses – happy to have them around.

    I will admit though, that asking a CSM with a 101st patch on where he served, he said “An Khe.” Scratched my head at that one. Where the heck is An Khe in the Sandbox???

    Yeah, I was schooled. LOL

  17. 1AirCav69 says:

    Spigot….hooah! Sir….and Airborne, ALL THE WAY!

    James…I was working on Parris Island when those planes hit the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. I cried over the loss of lives, but also that I couldn’t enlist and go. I told some young Marines in the room…”This means war boys….now, go kick some ass!” I envied their youth and a real cause to fight.

    Dave O….I only wish I could have been there with you. Sure you could have taught me a thing or two about fighting in a non-jungle shit hole as opposed to a jungle shit hole. Hoooah!

    Too all of you that have come after us…you’ve done one helluva job…and I mean it. Better than your countrymen who have never served…better than my generation that didn’t also. God…they’re running things and looked how fucked up that is.

    Honor and Courage

  18. Old Trooper says:

    My foster dad and 2 of my cousins were volunteers during Vietnam and they all saw combat. They were all infantry and 2 of them have the scars (my foster dad and 1 cousin), both inner and outer, to prove it. I remember as a kid, we were going to Minneapolis, I lived with my grandparents at that time, and there was a soldier hitchhiking. My grandpa pulled over and offered him a ride. My grandpa asked him where he was headed. He said “to the airport”. On the way down, we found out he was heading to Vietnam. When we got to the airport, my grandpa told us to stay in the car as he got out with the soldier and I could see my grandpa with him behind the car and my grandpa handed him $20 and a handshake and told him to be careful. That’s how we did things. One other time, my grandma and I had to hold grandpa back from squaring up with some protesters at the airport that were there to verbally abuse some returning Vets. I had never seen such anger in my grandpa and that image has stuck with me all this time. My real dad was a Vietnam era Vet, but the closest he got was Korea (it was before the build-up in ’65). The welcome home parties for my cousins are memories that I will always have, as well (while they were in Vietnam, we never ate a meal at the table, but on tv trays in front of the tv watching the names of those KIA, that would come at the end of the news, because grandma never missed an evening of watching for 2 whole years as I was growing up). We are in flyover country and from a rural area of the state, so other than the incidents at the airport, there wasn’t the big stigma that many had to endure. Those incidents of the protesters set in my mind that I would never allow that to happen, again, ever. I always love when a anti-war type from today tries to tell me that the protests during Vietnam there never was any spitting on the troops, or disparaging language towards them, etc. and that it’s all a myth. I say bullshit, I saw it with my own lying eyes.

  19. Sgt. Mike says:

    I always love when a anti-war type from today tries to tell me that the protests during Vietnam there never was any spitting on the troops, or disparaging language towards them, etc. and that it’s all a myth. I say bullshit, I saw it with my own lying eyes.

    Yeah, Old Trooper. I was there and I saw it too, walking the gauntlet thru the SF airport in January 1969, escorted by MP’s who had advised us on the bus over from OAB to just ignore the f’in hippies and head to our gates to go home.

    It almost worked. Every now and again one of the home-grown enemy took a shot from a balled up hand that swung mysteriously from the uniformed ranks and not one of us ever got charged.

    “Please do not spit upon the soldiers returning from their combat assignments.”

    I do remember, though that, once aboard, I was upped to 1st Class seating and I couldn’t buy a drink on the way home. The US businessmen I flew with were all about the American Spirit back then.

  20. Sgt. Mike says:

    Oops…that was ’69 goin’ over, 1970 coming back. Pretty much the same experience at the Philly airport headed incountry, though.

  21. Anonymous in Jax says:

    #14 Spigot, In response to your comment. The opinions of the people on here isn’t exactly the PROOF I was speaking of. As I said, in order to take Jonn’s statements seriously, I want to see the survey. There are certain things that have to be looked at. #1 how big was the sample size? #2 how were the surveys distributed (i.e. was it random? were they distributed in numerous cities, to numerous races, SES’es?) Those are just a couple of questions that come to mind because in surveying, it is extremely important to get a representative sample. As you can see, if I only administered a survey of this nature on TAH, I would get a very potentially biased sample. This is why I am so interested in the survey at question. But since Jonn cannot produce it, or chooses not to, then I am forced to think it either doesn’t exist or was something extremely biased in nature.

    But thank you for all of your service….seriously, I mean it. I cannot imagine the experience of coming back from Iraq only to be spat on by ungrateful citizens. Luckily, that did not happen to us Iraq veterans…instead we came home to applause. It is shameful that you guys didn’t get the same treatment.

  22. Jacobite says:

    JAX, the figures come from a Harris Survey about Vietnam veterans that was actually conducted in 1980 at the request of the Veterans Administration. It’s been called the most comprehensive survey of Vietnam veteran attitudes ever done. It made a complete lie of the ‘common’ anti war establishment’s politically successful narrative on the Vietnam War and the majority of the soldiers that fought it.

    The findings were indeed:

    “91 percent of those who served indicated they were “glad they served their country,” 74 percent stated they “enjoyed their time in the service,” 80 percent disagreed with the statement “the United States took unfair advantage of me,” and 72 percent agreed strongly with the statement: “The trouble in Vietnam was that our troops were asked to fight in a war which our political leaders in Washington would not let them win.”

    An article in the Washington Post in April of 1986 said;

    “The media response to this survey was almost total silence.”

    A Wall Street Journal article from 1998 stated :
    “The only national media report on the survey’s results was an Associated Press story headlined, “One in three would not serve again if asked.”
    Which logically means 2 out of three would.

    Also from that 1986 WaPo article:

    “Similarly, during March 1985, a Washington Post/ABC news poll conducted a random sample of Vietnam veterans, “precise to within a 4 percentage point margin,” which indicated that Vietnam veterans were more likely to have gone to college, more likely to own a home and more likely to earn $30,000 a year or more than others in their age group. A majority of the veterans interviewed felt they had benefited from being in Vietnam, supported the bombing of the North and the use of napalm and did not seem bothered by the fact that others avoided military service. The Post, it must be said, reported this survey fairly. No one else seems to have picked it up. One needn’t wonder what would have happened if the story had indicated otherwise.”

    The Post article may be found here http://www.jameswebb.com/articles/wapo-vietnamvets.html

    The WSJ article can be found here http://www.jameswebb.com/articles/wsj-mediawaronvnvets.html

    I’ll let you dig for the physical survey yourself. If you actually want to find it, you will.

  23. Anonymous in Jax says:

    Thanks for the information, Jacobite. I will be sure to read the links.