The Collegian reports that K-State is one of roughly “34 universities … nationwide chosen by the … Department of Defense to help serve as a national commemoration partner for the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.” Commemorative goals include “thanking and honoring … veterans, and recognizing the contributions of their families … “
Should Vietnam veterans be thanked and honored for killing millions of Vietnamese while laying waste to their country in a crusade to exterminate communism, which had no bearing on the security of our country?
Should we thank Vietnam veterans for fighting a losing war, just as the South still honors the men who futilely died to keep slavery alive?
Two of the stated purposes of the commemoration are to recognize “the full range of the Vietnam War’s legacy” and to “honor the sacrifices made by those who served during the war.”
Recognizing the “full range” of our legacy in Vietnam would be acknowledging that we learned nothing from our decade of obliterating that country. The U.S. still criminally invades other countries, and U.S. soldiers still commit wanton crimes against civilians in them.
The sacrifices made by those conscripted to serve in the war were dying in vain, being maimed and traumatized. Honoring these sacrifices would be tantamount to glorifying and sanctioning the ignoble war. The best way to honor the men who served in Vietnam would not be to exalt them as brave soldiers and heroes, but to apologize to them.
Tom C. Walker
English Language Program