A few months ago, I learned of President Obama’s 2012 proclamation entitled “COMMEMORATION OF THE 50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE VIETNAM WAR.” I framed a copy, and it now hangs on my office wall. I want to devote a series of blogs to this document. It reflects my my uneasiness about the war being forgotten.
The first paragraph reads:
“As we observe the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, we reﬂect with solemn reverence upon the valor of a generation that served with honor. We pay tribute to the more than 3 million servicemen and women who left their families to serve bravely, a world away from everything they knew and everyone they loved. From Ia Drang to Khe Sanh, from Hue to Saigon and countless villages in between, they pushed through jungles and rice paddies, heat and monsoon, ﬁghting heroically to protect the ideals we hold dear as Americans. Through more than a decade of combat, over air, land, and sea, these proud Americans upheld the highest traditions of our Armed Forces.”
In earlier blog posts, I’ve described the brotherhood of Vietnam veterans and the grisly realities of combat. I’ve recounted being cursed and spat upon by crowds when we returned to the U.S. I’ve talked about our decades of silence from shame for ourselves and our nation.
Now it’s time to talk about our honor. President Obama’s words quoted above finally paid tribute to those who risked their lives for their country. Closure is at last ours.