President Nixon’s promise on behalf of the US to “provide replacement aid to the South on a piece by piece, one-to-one basis” (Paris Peace Accords), the politicians at that time used their influence to defund the “replacement aid”, thus beginning the end of the war. “It is not easy to run a war on a screen from the safety of your own home” (Ken DeHoff). I believe Mr. DeHoff was right. It should not have been up to the politicians, who sacrificed nothing and stood to gain, to decide on further actions regarding the war. Mr. Chamberlin added, “If you’re going to commit to a war, commit until you win.” This decision by Congress made the US a country who goes back on its word. This decision led to North Vietnam winning the war, and allowing the US and South Vietnamese casualties to die in vain. The surviving Soldiers did not even see the end when the war ended. The war followed them home.
A prime example was when Brian Date, a Hawaii local boy, came home from the war to attend UH Manoa. He was 19 when he deployed. “I remember coming home through the Honolulu airport, people spat on me, and some yelled ‘baby killer’ at me. It was the same when I went to college.” (Brian Date). The War Veteran just came home after fighting a war, and was greeted not with honorable remarks, but disdain and disgust from the very people he made sacrifices for. What was worse was that it was his hometown. He came home from a war only to be mistreated in his own home. Brian Date was not honored in return, but he honored his country even after all the insults and disrespect.
The Vietnam War Veterans were not treated like the previous Veterans before them. As the World War II Veterans were honored properly and diligently, the Vietnam War veterans were spat on, disrespected, and were even called “baby killers.” All they did was fight a war that they thought was their duty to fight. It was their duty to follow orders given by their government. It wasn’t a popular war, but the Soldiers did their part. They loved their country so much, they selflessly followed orders for the benefit of others, only to come home to a country that despised them.
However, it is not the same today. Today all Veterans are respected. People began to understand. People saw the light in their words and finally began to show courtesy to those who fought for their country—even those who fought in an unpopular war. After being hated for years, they are finally being treated as they should be: as heroes.
This whole event really brings light to the words “don’t shoot the messenger.” The government makes the decisions and gives the orders, so why were the Soldiers mistreated? They were only following orders. The world is not black and white and the Soldiers, despite being at the forefront of the war, were not at fault. These men and women who fought and bled regarded their country with high esteem. They followed orders not only because it was their duty, but also because they loved their country. This teaches future generations to not find a scapegoat for the bad in life, but to
find the problem and solve it. The population is blinded by anger. They were irrational to blame the Soldiers for the war. These series of events should be thoroughly understood so the next generation will not make the same mistake.
These men and women only fought the war because they believed it was their duty to serve their country. It was the honorable thing to do and somebody had to do it. These Veterans sacrificed their time, their effort, and their lives, only to gain nothing in return. They loved their country with such passion and zeal, and were not properly commended for the sacrifices they made to protect us. It is our duty and honor as citizens of the United States to contribute our part in a country that has given us freedom and a Bill of Rights. However, it is also our duty to recognize those who have gone above and beyond what was expected, and honor those who did what was necessary to protect this country. They’ve done their part—now it’s time to do ours.