Going into this Memorial Day, I was startled to learn from the website, VETERANS TODAY NETWORK, that of the just under 3,000,000 who served in country during the Vietnam War, only 711,000 are still living.
Thinking VETERANS TODAY might be in error, I tried looking for other sources. The best I could do was the Official 2000 Census. They said 1 million were still alive. Now we’re at 10 years later and I trust the 711,000 figure.
Some little known facts about the Vietnam War:
Vietnam was a teenager’s war as opposed to World War II where the average age was 24. I finished my Tour of Duty in Nam in the summer of 1967. I turned 21 halfway through my Tour. Outside of the Officers & NCOs, I was one of the older guys in the outfit.
Vietnam had the highest casualty figures of any war. Though I was Army, I’ll cite this figure: The Marines suffered more casualties in Vietnam than they did in World War II. This despite the fact they had only a fourth as many personnel fighting as they did in WWII.
The Nixon Regime OPPOSED giving Vietnam veterans as good a GI Bill as that afforded the vets of WWII & Korea. Bob Dole, a badly wounded WWII vet and a newly elected Republican Senator, did NOTHING for us. Maybe that’s why only 19% of Vietnam (&Vietnam Era) vets took advantage of the GI Bill.
Vietnam veterans have lost control of “Rolling Thunder”, the big biker rally held every Memorial Day weekend in DC. The original purpose was to call attention to the plight of whatever POWs/MIAs might still be out there. Now “Rolling Thunder'” has been hi-jacked by Rambo-wannabes–some of whom aren’t vets at all–and turned into a de facto Republican rally. It’s turned into a mindless rally for mindless war.
Under the peace deal agreed to by Nixon & Kissinger, Hanoi didn’t have to provide names of POWs held until AFTER the Peace Agreements were signed. The number of POWs released turned out to be several hundred less than the number estimated by U.S. Intelligence.
It’s now estimated that up to 600 POWs continued to be held after the War. They were being held as hostages so the Nixon Regime would deliver on the 3 or 4 billion promised in aid. Nixon said the aid was contingent on Congress actually passing it. Nixon, a political pro, knew that would never happen. He and Kissinger literally kissed the boys good-bye.
Where was our most famous Vietnam vet John McCain doing with all this controversy? He’s the number one foe in Congress of opening the records. What are you hiding John?