The Vietnam War has long been something of a sore point in American history for many people, as it was one of the few wars this nation has fought that wasn’t a clear and decisive victory. The Vietnam War also became a political point of contention on the homefront for much of its duration.
What began as an admirable goal of stemming the growing tide of communism in Southeast Asia turned into a guerilla war quagmire, largely due to the misguided interference of political leaders in the U.S. who overrode the decision-making of military leaders on the ground.
Meanwhile, partisan in-fighting, rising death tolls, media opposition and leftist protests against the war further soured the public’s view of the conflict, and far too many veterans of that war were at best ignored, if not mistreated, upon their return home.
Views have changed somewhat since the days of the war, and the nation now marks March 29 as a special day in honor of those who served in that conflict with the Vietnam War Veterans Day, which was just duly noted by both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence with tweets of gratitude.
President Trump tweeted, “On this Vietnam War Veterans Day, we celebrate the brave Vietnam Veterans and all of America’s Veterans. Thank you for your service to our great Nation!”
On this Vietnam War Veterans Day, we celebrate the brave Vietnam Veterans and all of America’s Veterans. Thank you for your service to our great Nation!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2019
Linking to that tweet from the president, Pence delivered his own message of gratitude that expounded a bit further on exactly what Americans should be thankful for in regard to those who served in that deadly and disputed war.
Pence tweeted, “This #VietnamWarVeteransDay, we honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of freedom and express our eternal gratitude for all Vietnam veterans and their families.”
This #VietnamWarVeteransDay, we honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of freedom and express our eternal gratitude for all Vietnam veterans and their families. https://t.co/ptkMPeWd9q
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) March 29, 2019
Indeed. Lost in all of the partisan bickering both during and after the war was the true and prevailing reason for why American military troops were in that terrible jungle to begin with — defending freedom.
Prior to the start of American involvement in Vietnam, the nation had been under the control of France as something of a former colony and foothold in the region — that is, until Chinese-backed communists swept in and began to seize control, ultimately forcing the French out.
The United States, under the leadership of President John F. Kennedy, recognized the inherent dangers of communism expanding and strengthening its grasp in that corner of the world, and began an effort to push the communists in the north back, or at least maintain a relatively free and somewhat capitalistic south.
But partisanship, increasingly unclear goals and political interference with military actions inevitably took over, and as casualties mounted while troop levels surged and protests erupted, the initial goal of defeating communism became overshadowed, eventually resulting in our admittedly ignoble withdrawal as communists took over the entirety of that embattled nation.
But to the men and women who served and fought and died in that war, it must be noted that their service and deaths were not in vain or even for a lost cause, as America’s style of freedom and liberty are well worth fighting — and even dying — on behalf of, particularly in the face of the scourge of communism.
President Trump and his administration have made it abundantly clear that they hold our nation’s military veterans in the highest regard, and on countless occasions have expressed great appreciation for veterans’ service to our country.
Today, in honor of those who served in Vietnam — and especially those who paid the ultimate price for freedom — that immense gratitude for service and sacrifice was expressed once again.
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