The U.S. Senate approved a resolution yesterday declaring March 30 as “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.” Very nice, but the Senate screwed up, and as journalists, you shouldn’t.
Here’s, in part, what the Senate resolution press release partly said:
“The U.S. Senate yesterday declared March 30th as ‘Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day,’ agreeing unanimously to a resolution introduced by Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
“On March 30, 1973, all U.S. troops withdrew from Vietnam under the terms of the Treaty of Paris. …. “
The date was March 29, 1973, and no, not all U.S. troops were withdrawn in 1973, it was all COMBAT troops. The last troops to leave were the embassy Marines on April 30, 1975 from the roof of the American embassy in Saigon.
The last combat soldier to leave Vietnam was Army Master Sgt. Max J. Beilke who is seen in this CBS News video showing the date. Beilke was killed Sept. 11, 2001 when a terrorist-flown jetliner slammed into the Pentagon where he was working on veterans’ issues.
The last serviceman to leave Vietnam was Master Gunnery Sgt. John Valdez. On April 30, 1975, he was the last man to climb on board the last helicopter out of Saigon, an act that marked the end of America’s official military presence in Vietnam.
- Interview a Vietnam War veteran. Ask about his last day in Vietnam.
- How does the veteran see the war in retrospect?
- Does serving in Vietnam have any affect on their lives today?
- What was it like returning to the civilian world?
- What does the veteran think of the current wars?
- Visit a veterans group, VFW, American Legion, AMVET, Vietnam Veterans Association and interview a veteran. Ask why they are involved in the organization.
- The Senate’s resolution is to “welcome home” the Vietnam veteran. What does that mean to them? Is it just in time, or too late?