To the memories of all who gave their service throughout this country’s history. You can’t be Thanked enough. My Dad served and fought as most of his generation did in WWII. He died on June 21, 2001. He served in the Navy on a Battle Wagon. USS TENNESSEE BB43 1943-47. This picture was taking with not only my Dad aboard but with so many Dads.
Guam July 1944
3 cousins were drafted and one served In Country in Vietnam. One first cousin made it a career and still serves with the The 1st Battalion, 119th Field Artillery. His son served with the same and served in Cuba and Two Tours in Iraq. I thank God he made it out alive.
The war my Dad served in was a war that started with an unprovoked act by Japan onto our soil. Some wars we were dragged into. They were not a threat to us, we went to give support to South Korea & South Vietnam to aid them in the fight against Communists. Only when we arrived in S. Vietnam the S. Vietnamese stopped fighting, our young poor Drafted troops were forced into an unwinnable nightmare that lasted 16 years. They knew how to conquer and win that war, but the very same USA government that sent them basically told them. Fight it with one hand tied behind your back. And that was way long before the cries, screams and protests began at home with the 1968 Tet Offensive. With more and more soldiers coming home in body bags, with more and more funerals. All started to ask why we were there to even begin with. Bobby Kennedy knew all too well the giant mistake of having gotten into this war, and finally began to voice it prior to his announcement of his candidacy for President on March 16, 1968. The very first thing on RFK’s agenda if elected was to immediately withdraw our troops from that country. He never got the chance as he was slaughtered in a L.A. hotel on June 5, 1968 dying the next day on June 6th.
In my opinion the day Sirhan Sirhan murdered Bobby Kennedy, he also murdered thousands upon thousands more of our troops that would of never been killed. Because in essence they wouldn’t of remained in Vietnam to be killed. In Vietnam young U.S. soldiers knew it only to well, when RFK died they knew it was the last hope of ending the madness. And in nobody’s mind would RFK lost the election. The USA lost so much more than Bobby Kennedy then anybody could ever imagined. In the Feb. 1969 Tet we suffered massive casualties there. In an excerpt of James Douglass book JFK and the Unspeakable: Why he died and Why it matters. It explained that President John Kennedy himself was going to withdraw from Vietnam. And from the start of the madness with Vietnam, JFK too never got the chance as he was slaughtered. Makes you wonder doesn’t it?
The President’s policy was formalized nine days later in his National Security Action Memorandum Number 263 of Oct. 11, 1963. That document put into effect the McNamara-Taylor recommendations, which provided that:
“A program be established to train Vietnamese so that essential functions now performed by U.S. military personnel can be carried out by Vietnamese by the end of 1965. It should be possible to withdraw the bulk of U.S. personnel by that time … [and] the Defense Department should announce in the very near future presently prepared plans to withdraw 1,000 U.S. military personnel by the end of 1963.”
Whether Kennedy truly believed that the U.S. training program would succeed in helping the South Vietnamese prevail is doubtful. Clearly, he wanted out. He carried around in his conscience and from time to time spoke of the number of American troops already killed. (Eight died under Eisenhower; about 170 during Kennedy’s tenure.)
Assistant Press Secretary Malcolm Kilduff, to whom fell the task of announcing President Kennedy’s death on Nov. 22, 1963, told James Douglass, author of JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, that Kennedy’s mind was fixed on Vietnam the day before. Instead of rehearsing for a press conference that day, Kennedy told Kilduff:
“I’ve just been given a list of the most recent casualties in Vietnam. We’re losing too damned many people over there. It’s time for us to get out. The Vietnamese are not fighting for themselves. We’re the ones who are doing the fighting.
“After I come back from Texas, that’s going to change. There is no reason for us to lose another man over there. Vietnam is not worth another American life.”
A month before, during his last visit to Hyannis Port, Kennedy told his next-door neighbor Larry Newman, “I’m going to get those guys out [of Vietnam] because we’re not going to find ourselves in a war it’s impossible to win.”
Kennedy understood that decisions on Vietnam were far too important to be left to myopic generals. They were still chafing at what they considered Kennedy’s failure in 1962 to seize the moment and obliterate Cuba — and perhaps also the U.S.S.R., while we were at it.
Well with this having been said and noted we all know Vietnam raged on. From 69 until the last combat troops were withdrawn in 1973 over another 20,000 troops had died there. In total we will never know the true casualty count of Vietnam, because so many who died as a direct result of injuries sustained in the fighting. The only ones actually counted were the on the spot KIAs. Others that died in hospitals months or years later were not. They list the total number of KIAs during the Vietnam conflict as 58,236. But in reality there were more.
Today May 29, 2010 the news stated that the 1,000th GI was killed in the Afghan War. us_afghan1000th_death when in reality on the http://www.icasualties.org/oef/ it lists 1,007. http://icasualties.org/OEF/ByTheatre.aspx
In Iraq: 4718 http://www.icasualties.org/Iraq/Fatalities.aspx
In Total between both wars 5,725 yet on http://militarytimes.com/valor/ as of the 25th number the KIAs is listed as 5461.
Even more confusing to the families of these Fallon troops that know their loved one did in fact die and is not listed. The numbers should match, but don’t. And from this anger arises. Who’s right and what is the absolute truth.
In any case or number the Iraq war wasn’t for any purpose what so ever. Iraq did not attack us. And there are atrocities against all kinds of people everywhere in this world. Yes Saddam Hussein was a butcher, but he was butchering his own people. Not any here in the U.S.A. Such genocides are taking place in different and many parts of this globe. And since his hanging how many of our troops continue to die, and what is our purpose there. Iraqi’s cheered and danced in the streets when it was announced years back that some of our troops were leaving their country. That was their gratitude for our KIAs there to bring their slaughter by Hussein to an end. And I say why are we still there?
Most of the troops both in Iraq and Afghanistan were weekend warriors. National Guard troops up to their deployment serving one weekend a month. And because today there isn’t a draft, some of these young men and woman are on the 8th and 9th tours. They have served beyond SERVICE. I thank them and are grateful for them. But my take on the saying ” SUPPORT OUR TROOPS ” is BRING THEM HOME. Because the madness in the middle east is that of no difference than Vietnam. There is no winnable solution there. Our goal after 9-11 was to bring the responsible individuals to justice. That being Osama Bin Laden. And it should have been our only goal and venue to capture this bastard. I agreed with the Afghanistan War because this was the venue we knew he was. How the diversion got directed to Iraq is inexcusable. And the lives lost from that decision can never be regained. But to keep troops somewhere because of the same saying that took place during Vietnam. ” But if we withdraw now, the lives would have been lost in vain ” can only keep bringing on more and more KIAs. How many lives should we lose to keep face? 58,236? The French already knew what they did because they fought the NVC before us. We entered the war anyway. And the ones who did know it was a mistake were going to withdraw long before the names on a list grew so long it would build a wall. For they were too assassinated before they could act.
Well as hard as it is, a reality must be realized. The now ongoing Iraq and Afghan wars are no more winnable than Nam was. In fact these middle east wars are totally impossible. Because the madness that has bred these Muslim extremists doesn’t only exist in the middle east. Our 9-11 attack came from within our own boundaries. They in fact were already on our soil. Lunatics that share their demented philosophy’s are boarding planes with bombs in their underwear. London, Germany, Amsterdam…. The list goes on and on. They are everywhere being trained everywhere, including our own backyards. It is worst than Vietnam even though the KIAs have been less. But to want to keep adding to the numbers? I say that is insanity.
So on this Memorial Day let us truly remember all of the troops who have sacrificed their lives. During Wars where it was absolutely necessary because an act of war was waged against our country, or individuals of our government purposely mislead all of us into believing that some theater of war was necessary, when it wasn’t like Iraq. You can SUPPORT THE SOLDIERS without supporting the war. During Vietnam sadly what started out as protests solely aimed at the government who got us involved, got diverted unto the soldiers being forced to fight it. And today some of that same stupidity has spilled over. Having to kill to stay alive is not being baby killers. It wasn’t during Nam, and it isn’t now. Nor has it ever been. And unless you’ve stood inside their boots you have no right to wage war on them with your rants. Some will argue these troops today joined therefore it’s not called force to fight. And I will say to them, holding them over for tour after tour after tour is forcing them to fight. Sadly they have no more say than the people who got drafted during Nam. Held over used to be a term for entertainers who gave great performances and people wanted to see more. Not anymore.
The term held over now has a meaning of its own, that brings such stress to the breaking point for these troops. That getting the orders of another tour is making them resort to taking their own lives.
During Vietnam a.k.a. Poor Boys War there were two draft dodging places. One was Canada, and one was called COLLEGE. Only the ones who felt in their minds they had to leave their country to escape that war were ostracized. Yet the ones who escaped it because rich enough remained on our soil but were given a free pass. Many wrongs took place from that past.
So you can march, protest and voice your opinions about WAR. But if you again repeat the same mistake that the President who you so hate that put us again in this position. By yelling baby killers at our troops. Than you are no better than he. In fact you are two peas in a pod, no different from the other. What Bush started was going to be hard to finish for anyone who followed him. I only hope from our past this present President has learned more than the last. And a decision is made and gets acted upon.
ENOUGH WALLS ALREADY…. BRING THEM ALL HOME.
To every soldier who served and died. We THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts. Your death from any war was not in vain. You served with honor and you followed your orders with dignity. And you will never be forgotten.
For those that are now serving and will serve, for the weary and tired soldier. We Thank You and want you home safe.
And may there come a time from this moment on
Memorial Day is not for picnics, party’s and celebration. It is a day for remembrance for if not for the Veterans we would not be here.
YES WE WILL REMEMBER YOU.