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Wounds From an Old War

I've been exchanging E Mails with a fellow Viet Nam War vet from my old unit, back in America. He still bears the wounds and sorrows of that "lost " war. But he is wrong. We won the War. America and most of the rest of the world spent most of the last century fighting the "Evil Empire," the Soviet Union. That snake is D-E-A-D with a stake through its heart. Don't believe me. Ask the ambassador from the Soviet Union what he thinks. Right.

Viet Nam was a battle in that war. Sure we "lost" that battle. I, with my Vietnamese wife and our two daughters, were evacuated during the fall of Sai Gon. We got out early, the 19th of April 1975, and missed the real panic.

But? Did we realy lose that battle? I'm sitting in my home in the Village of Lien Houng near the old American Air Base at Phan Rang Viet Nam wondering about that. The friendly local school kids are all studying English. Study Russian? No Way! Study French? Who wants to talk to a bunch of Frogs?

My US Army retired Cap is worth a friendly smile and a discount at the market when I wear it. Being a practical Vietnamese lady, my wife makes sure that I always wear it. I didn't wear it once while trying to purchase a Vietnamese Navy boat tour of Cam Rang harbor, and got mistaken for a European. Until we got that straightened out they were going to make me pay twice the Vietnamese price. After we explained that I was an American Viet Nam (American) war veteran, we not only got the Vietnamese price, we got an extra long tour as well.

The Boat People? They are honored and valued guests, encouraged to come and visit, or stay if they wish. A lot of them are building nice homes in the neighborhood for future retirement. We've had our house for nearly seven years. Agent Orange has made my retirement a bit early.

Viet Nam wants and needs American involvement in Viet Nam and in the rest of Asia. If only we could get over that old "lost" war. From my perspective perhaps, "We should just declare victory and come back"

Viet Nam is looking pretty good right now. Who knows, in thirty years Iraq may look just as good.

This story was contributed: SSG Sam Eaton AUS ret