Vietnam War 50th Anniversary
Somehow it is hard to believe that the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War is about to be commemorated. I guess it is about time for the 50th anniversary if you go by the little attachment on the Vietnam Campaign Medal that says 1960–. Maybe the armed forces should authorize a new attachment which reads 1960–1973. I did not realize until I looked at a history site on the web that the Vietnam War was the longest war in US history. It certainly seemed like the longest war I was ever in. From my point of view I would say that war really started in 1965 when the first major army unit, the 173d Airborne Brigade deployed from Okinawa to Bien Hoa. I know we had 15 or 16,000 military advisers there by 1965, but from my point of view the real war starts when you deploy your TOE units.
I guess for all of us veterans of the Vietnam War you have a tendency to divide your life into two categories: before Vietnam and after Vietnam. Before Vietnam, life was pretty carefree; after Vietnam, each veteran had a different experience, which did not start with a warm fuzzy. Most of us from the south just came home and went back to work, for others it was a hell of a lot more difficult…but that’s not the point here.
The point is, if you were a Vietnam veteran can you really believe in its 50 years after the Vietnam war? Well actually 2013 will be the 50th year after the fall of Saigon. The Department of Defense was authorized in 2008 to conduct a Vietnam War 50th anniversary commemoration program. If you go to the website VietnamWar50th.com you will not see much. Even the number of links to veterans Association is pretty pitiful. But then I sound like an old man grousing, but what the hell, I am an old man now. So what do I think about the 50th anniversary of Vietnam? I think we should commemorate it whenever we see a Vietnam veteran by saying, “Welcome home, thank you for your service!” At least we can say it to each other.
Commemorate the Vietnam War 50th Anniversary
I recommend another way of commemorating service in the Vietnam War. Either put a Vietnam Veteran’s license plate on your car or a Vietnam decal on your car’s rear window. Then make a point of popping a salute to every fellow veteran you see. You earned it, you deserve a salute!
Col. Frank Foster
Medals of America