Time to set the record straight by correctly framing the argument


At some time in the future, the Vietnam War will go down in History as the most altruistic war ever fought.

Most, if not all, wars are wars of conquest — to enslave people or to take their land, natural resources, food, or treasure.  Except, the Vietnam War. 

Our goal was not to enslave the Vietnamese people, nor did we want their water buffalo, rice paddies, or rubber plantations.  We were there for one purpose:  to keep seventeen million people free from Communism. For that noble cause the Vietnam War was called “Unjust, Immoral, Illegal” and we who fought it were cursed and called “Baby Killers”, or just ignored if we survived to come home.

We shall never forget, and if you look carefully at that aging man over there, you may notice he is wearing a baseball cap with Vietnam on it, or he may have a bumper sticker on his truck calling attention to his Vietnam service.  He is proud of it and is letting his fellow Americans know he answered his Nation’s call and served in Vietnam.

In the 1980s I worked for Hughes Aircraft.  Hughes had two plants, one in Forest and another in Richland. My responsibilities took me to both. At Richland I met an employee who was Vietnamese.  Except, he wasn’t Vietnamese. While developing a relationship with him I learned that he was a Chinese living in Vietnam.  Here is his story:

At the end of World War II in 1945, the Communists gained control of Mainland China. So, his grandparents left his great grandparents and families in China and fled to the northern part of Vietnam to escape the Communists.

When the Communist Vietminh defeated the French at Dien Bien Phu and took control of North Vietnam in 1954, his parents left his grandparents and families and fled to South Vietnam to escape the Communists.

When the Communists took control of all of Vietnam in 1975, he and his wife and children left their parents and families and fled to America to escape the Communists.

“Unjust, Immoral, Illegal war!” Tell that to my Chinese/Vietnamese friend!

Here are some statistics of your American brothers, husbands, fathers, and friends who served in Vietnam:

• 2,709,918 Americans served in uniform in Vietnam.

240 men were awarded the Medal of Honor.

One of every ten Americans who served was wounded.

The average infantryman in the South Pacific during WWII saw about 40 days of combat in 4 years.  The average infantryman in Vietnam saw about 240 days of combat in one year.

In a discussion or disagreement, the side that frames the argument has a decided advantage over the other.  Our job was to serve our Nation, not to argue about it.  Well, in the waning years of our lives we intend to set the record straight by correctly framing the argument.  There is a national movement afoot to do just that:

1.  For information contact Terry Garlock, tlg.opinion@gmail.com

2.  The Atlanta Vietnam Veterans Business Association (AVVBA).  Here is a link to seven of them speaking for their organization.  I urge you to listen.  https//www.youtube.com/watch?v=geBC7DQoAbY and type in Vietnam Veterans

3.  Mississippi Public Broadcasting has taken an interest in the opinions and experiences of Mississippi Vietnam veterans.  For information or to participate contact: 

Mississippi Public Broadcasting

Corey Hart, Producer