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For some, The Vietnam war never ended

For some, The Vietnam war never ended

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To many people, today will be just another day. It will be a Wednesday work day for most of us, myself included. But there are 58,449 reasons why the day is significant. April 30, 1975, was the day the Vietnam war ended. The 58,449 is the number of Americans who died in that war.
To many people, today will be just another day. It will be a Wednesday work day for most of us, myself included. But there are 58,449 reasons why the day is significant. April 30, 1975, was the day the Vietnam war ended. The 58,449 is the number of Americans who died in that war.

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Published by: Children Of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance on Apr 30, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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Tyson: For some, Vietnam war never ended
REN
9:07 p.m. PDT April 29, 2014
To many people, today will be just another day. Itwill be a Wednesday work day for most of us,myself included. But there are 58,449 reasons whythe day is significant. April 30, 1975, was the daythe Vietnam war ended. The 58,449 is the number of Americans who died in that war.We went to war because, for many of us, and that includes those who were drafted, itwas a simply a matter of duty. We did what our country asked us to do, so wemar ched off to a place most of us never heard of. You can say the same for those who came before us. But here lies the difference:Those men and women who fought in Wor ld War II came home to brass bands andticker-tape parades. Even the survivors of the Korean Conflict came home mostlyunnoticed, hence the term “the Forgotten War.” There were very few brass bands,and even fewer ticker-tape parades, but there were no demonstrations to speak of.They were simply glad to be home, thinking, perhaps, they had helped to save thenation of South Korea from communism.It was different for us.
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We came home to hostile crowds, a divided nation, and, for reasons that are hard toexplain, we took the brunt of the blame. Stories abound about returning veteransbeing spit on, being called baby killers, murderers and rapists. In fact, I still hear these stories now and again from old vets who lament how badly treated we werewhen we came home.Indeed, many of the stories are true, although I must admit I never experienced anyof that. But I did come home to protesters waiting outside the terminal at SanFrancisco International Airport. I don’t recall having an angry reaction. I was just gladto be back on American soil.We Vietnam vets are getting long in the tooth now. Memories fade with time, as doold emotions. But for many old guys, the war has never ended. The psychologicalscars of being rejected by one’s own country just run too deep.You know who they are. They wear worn-out camouflage fatigues, and even after allthese years, they are still trying to find a place in a country that effectively rejectedthem. Many will never find peace. Indeed, watching the last helicopters leaving theroof of the U.S. embassy in Saigon will forever leave a burning imprint on my mind.But as today comes around, it is important that this country know the legacy we oldguys left behind in the jungles of Southeast Asia. Never again will our veterans comehome the way we did. They are, and rightfully so, treated as heroes. They comehome to open arms and American flags flying in the breeze. There are no protesterscalling them names and waving vulgar signs. They walk through out airports withpeople thanking them for their service.That is our legacy to America. And that is why when two old Vietnam vets greet eachother, they will shake hands and say, “Welcome home.”Even now, it’s never too late.John Tyson is U.S. Air Force veteran who served in Vietnam in 1966-67 as a sentrydog handler at Bien Hoa Air Base.
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