I was able to watch some of the History Channel's “Vietnam in HD” special that first aired several years ago. It was a riveting documentary with amazing combat footage showing what the men (and women) faced during this long and difficult conflict. It had been the first time in modern warfare where battles were won by body count – not by land taken – and where soldiers were helicoptered into hard-to-navigate areas and left for days until their supplies were all used up.
I grew up knowing little about this war – other than the fact it had been deemed a “useless” war. Veterans returning from the conflict were often mistreated and shown little respect from their own countrymen/women.
It was an ugly time in America. Tensions between the races still ran high. Protesters were everywhere. Two great leaders of the time were gunned down (Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy). And the frustrations boiled over on to the military.
Most of these men and women were just doing a job their country had sent them to do. Some were volunteers – joining their buddies who had also signed up. Others had been drafted. They were united in a single cause to help contain the spread of communism.
War is an ugly thing. It is an inevitable result of unrestrained evil in our world. And so we consecrate today to focus on the brave men and women who have protected our liberties and have sought to end the black plague of evil from spreading.
We salute all who have served.