Thursday, April 30, 2015

Viet Nam War Ended 40 Years Ago Today

      I have been listening to a CBC radio series on The Current about Vietnamese people who escaped Vietnam after the war was over. We all saw the miserable little overloaded boats that carried people to other countries where they were held in camps. Slowly the world organized and these people were taken by countries around the world. Countries were uneasy about taking the boat people as  they thought they would be an expense. They turned out to be anything but an expense and contributed to the local economies. Many communities have very active Vietnamese communities.

     Today I was reminded that the Vietnamese war ended 40 years ago today. I will never forget the chaos shown on TV of the last Americans leaving Saigon as fighting continued all around them. I looked on with horror as I saw people try to escape by hanging  onto the helicopter as it lifted off.

     The country was left in ruins and with it's own civil war.

     I also thought back to what a very terrible war this was in so many ways. Many troops and civilians were lost. Many troops came back and suffered horribly for the rest of their lives.

      The war ended and Vietnam was left with many problems and a very harsh ruling government. The two sides were still very angry with each other. After Ho Chi Minh died things slowly began to change. 

     When I think back I have a hard time to think about the cause of the war. It's difficult to remember why the Americans entered the war.

     Since I was a little news junkie nerd, I remember the French in Vietnam. Vietnam was a French colony. The French were booted out of Vietnam in the 50's. That was also a long drawn out and brutal conflict.

     One can only look back with sadness at the horror that took place in Vietnam. Have we learned any lessons from Vietnam? 


34 comments:

  1. i was too young to really understand any of what was happening, and only since movies were shown about the war and the horrors have i come to know any of it. and what will be looked back on 40 years from now with folks wondering why, how, what did any of it accomplish?

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    1. As an adult watching this it didn't make sense.

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  2. I can only assume that it seemed a good idea to somebody at the time.

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    1. Yes Adrian, they wanted to keep the Commies from dominating the world.

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  3. The Vietnam war has marked our youth I think, all the demonstrations we had here and over the world. The terrible photos and films we saw in the magazines and television of the wounded soldiers and Vietnamese people.It was a nightmare.

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    1. It was not a popular war at all.

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  4. I taught quite a few kids who fled as boat people. They were so resilient. Sweet kids, with stories of fleeing the gun fire by going up into the hills. Tragic that people do this to one another. They were so happy to be safe in school with us.

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    1. We had a caretaker and once in a while he would show us where he was shot in the leg.

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  5. I wish we could experience more thoughts toward world peace by this tragedy. It was a sad time for thousands of families on either side. Many veteran groups have returned to see a reborn country, still ravaged some by war. I was a paratrooper there for 15 months.

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    1. So you have a direct connection to this war. It must have been an awful place to be for 15 months.

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  6. It was a terrible time. I remember when we went to war but I didn't know why, and I remember the awful scenes on TV, and how terribly we treated our soldiers when they came home. But why it all happened? I have no idea. :-(

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    1. There were many demonstrations against the war.

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  7. It was such a terrible war...ahem conflict...so many lives were sacrificed...locally we still have an MIA by the name of Gary Rehn...so sad that he was never brought back home. A friend is travelling back to Vietnam with a member of his squad to see what they can discover. Now old men trying to find those lost:(

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    1. It's really sad what happened to the Vietnam veterans. I wonder if the same thing is happening with Iraq and afghanistan vets?

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  8. Hi Red, Interesting post here and you left us with an excellent question. I sure hope the answer is Yes, but I am not so sure. I am also uncertain as to why the USA got into the war, but as I understand it, and it is probably an over-simplification, but I think it was the "domino theory" ... if Vietnam fell to the Communists it would only be a short matter of time until the whole region fell to them. Back then we were all worried that the Communists were trying to take over the whole world.

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    1. We were certainly whipped up into a frenzy . Stalin was a very frightening leader

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  9. It's a really complicated morass, but built on a foundation that doesn't make sense in hindsight- the domino theory. I know a number of restaurants here have Vietnamese cuisine in the Chinatown neighbourhood... I sometimes wonder if they were started by some of those refugees of that time.

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    1. We have some great Vietnamese restaurants and they are owned by Vietnamese refugees.

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  10. Sadly, i don't think we've learned anything from Vietnam, except that wars always benefit the rich who own the factories making weapons.

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    1. You make an excellent point and it's one of the things that keeps the world at war.

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  11. That was a sad time. I never really understood anything about that war. It doesn't look like we've learned anything.

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    1. The Vietnam memorial wall in Washington was strong reminder of the great cost in loss of life.

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  12. A very sad war but all wars are very sad. We seemed doomed to keep repeating them.

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  13. Vietnam was horrible: Those who ignore history, are destined to repeat it. So have we learned any lessons? Sometimes I think not.

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  14. WAR - somebody make money - lives are lost, people mentally and physically damaged for life - somebody makes money - its all about the money. As for the soldiers, our family have always had soldiers and the time the government turns their back on you, is when you need them most. War period - all about someone making money. No Govt ever really cares about the great cost of life - they make their appearance, say a speech with a little water in their eyes and go home to their plush pads and life. WAR - its all about someone making money.

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  15. War was and is never a solution. Some people say war is necessary but I cannot fully grasp the sense in it. I am pro-life and against any violence.

    I didn't know there were Vietnamese refugees in my country (Philippines) until I found a blog which reunites those refugees. Glad they all turned out luving a good life at the moment.

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  16. It was a sad and confusing time for those of us "of a certain age" and marked our youth in a negative way. Those who went to war were treated poorly when they returned home. The boy who was to become my husband was a conscientious objector and suffered in jail for a time and then from ridicule as he served in a hospital to complete his alternative service. My best friend's brother came home drug addicted and crazy. I remember standing together with my then husband on the porch of my parents house, both of us crying as the bells rang out telling the end of the war in Vietnam. I too later taught the children of the refugee Boat People in my classroom.

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  17. Indeed a terrible war, as all wars are. It seems we never quite learn.

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  18. The more we look back, I hope the more chance we have of learning lessons. Those Vietnamese boat people are echoed today by the Africans fleeing across the Mediterranean in all manner of small boats. Hopefully they will eventually find peace and a home

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  19. I can't say that any war the US has been involved in- ever- has been for a good reason. But my father was in the air force during those years and is a veteran, and I also remember the fears of our country at that time. I watched the news reports on tv- back before news became editorialized as badly as it is now, but I'm sure it was politicized..I was just too young to know different/ . The MIA/POW's were front page news, and I wore a bracelet for one in the 70s. His body was not found. It made the war more personal for me. Comparing those days to now..I don't know that we had more or less reason to fight. I see worse to come in my lifetime and I worry for my grandchildren. But honestly, we never learn, do we?

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  20. You and my hubby are months apart. My hubby was March 19th. He remembered the bombing in Holland when he was age 4 or five. The planes coming back from Germany. It was the English to go to Germany. On way back emptied gas tanks and shells from the big guns. In the field of his Grandpa's . Making a terrible noise. Grandpa's. In Fries-land . Closest to England . North Sea. .You never forget it. He used to throw his head back and forth on his pillow saying over and over again. moma, moma. I mean he was the oldest of 9. So I guess him calling his Moms name was a security blanket for him. I was born in 1942. My three brothers went to war and my dad. Yes our Grandchildren and there children will be having a hard ,hard time. Look at the world today. They do as much damage now like a war zone. Sad, sad.

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  21. I wish we would all remember those lessons, but I don't think we do. We were supposed to save them from the communists, right. And yet when we visited Vietnam last year we saw a thriving successful country doing quite well. Was it worth the cost, the horror, the tragic loss of life?

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