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A Story to Tell

A call to Vietnam veterans to share their stories

Those of us who have not put on a military uniform generally hold in high regard the men and women of our armed forces who have. One of the best examples of this was how our country came together within the last 30 years to honor our World War II veterans.

An explosion of WWII literature began in the 1990s with Tom Brokaw’s groundbreaking “Greatest Generation” books and continued with the popular miniseries such as “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific.” The National World War II Memorial was built and nonprofit organizations such as Honor Flight took great pains to transport our WWII veterans to see the memorial so that they could feel recognized and respected.

As a country, we have not gone to as much effort to fete our Vietnam War veterans—but we have made great strides compared to how things were 50 years ago. Toward the latter part of the Vietnam War, there were many Americans who went out of their way to demonstrate the opposite of support for our troops.

Things are different now. A graying veteran scooting around a grocery store wearing a service cap has a better chance of being thanked for his or her service than of being ignored. Honor Flight trips exclusively for Vietnam veterans have been organized. Special ceremonies honoring those from the era are commonplace.

I love this trend. But we can do more to honor and remember their service. We will need the help of our veterans. I’ll explain.

Time is our eternal nemesis. Time has yet to be defeated and will never stand still. That is why I implore every Vietnam War veteran to consider telling your story. Your courage needs to be celebrated.

  • Tell us about the suffocating heat of the jungles, the helicopter evacuations and the monsoonal rains in that faraway land.
  • Tell us about the lifelong friends you made and how you looked after one another other, in country, and continue to look after one another in your home country.
  • Tell us that you fought with just as much resolve and honor as those who went before you at Gettysburg, at the Argonne Forest, at Normandy, at Iwo Jima and the Chosin Reservoir, and that your battles at Khe Sanh and Hue, the Tet Offensive, Hamburger Hill and Rolling Thunder were just as important.
  • And remind us that America never lost a major military battle in Vietnam.

You may not consider yourselves heroes, but make no mistake, the simple act of volunteering to serve and defend our country is heroic indeed. Don’t let your story go untold.

David Cordero is the communications and marketing director for City of St. George.