To my American brothers-in armsIt is no secret that we have to followorders from our superior while in the militaryIn the nineteen fifties, sixties andseventies, following orders, you had to go to the Viet Nam theaterAnd also followingorders, you had to go home after the Paris Agreement was signed in 1973.

You had fought admirably on the battlefields in Viet NamWe saluteyouWe thankyou for your service and for helping usIronically, our politicians haddifferent plan and decided to pull defeat from the jaws of victory.

I believe itis time we show gratitude and pay tribute to theveterans of the Viet Nam WarIt is long overdue, but, better late than never.

Thank you Mr.Jennings. Great job.

“The willingnesswith which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter howjustified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans ofearlier wars were treated and appreciated by our nation.”

George Washington


An Open Letter to Secretary of DefenseGates

By PhillipJennings

October 5, 2010

Dear Secretary of Defense Gates:

You have a great opportunity to right a long-standing wrong againstthe veterans of the Vietnam War with the Vietnam War Commemoration event whichI understand is being planned. These Soldiers, Marines, Sailorsand Airmen fought the bloodiest battle of the Cold War, and stopped the spreadof Communism in Southeast Asia has neverofficially thanked them for their sacrifice and valor. The myths about the VietNam War are legend, but one of the most pernicious is that the Viet Nam Vetsreturned home broken and bowed, ashamed that they were not able to defeat theNorth Vietnamese aggressors in South Viet Nam. Of course none of that is true.The American Military performed valiantly and successfully on the battlefieldsof South Viet Nam and in theair above North Viet Nam

Viet Nam veteransurvivors of the war are dwindling rapidly. One estimate is only a third ofthem still are living. I call upon you and the members of Congress to let theveterans know that their years of combat are appreciated by a gratefulnation. I urge our Senators and Representatives to get involved in theplanning and support of the Commemoration.

Only a very few veterans, or citizens, know of the upcomingCommemorative, its scale, its activities, and the timing. I know that there arethose who would seek to once again belittle and even ignore the Viet Nam vets. Youcannot let that happen. No matter the outcome, the dissention, the protests and the political disarray, the militaryperformed magnificently in that long war. They believed in obeying theirgovernment, and they saw, as the world did, the consequences of a Communistconquest after they came home. 

The commemoration is not a political event, a statement on the VietNam War, nor an angstful re-hashing of the war’smerits, strategy, tactics and cost. It is a tribute tothose who wore their country’s uniform, and served it to the best of theirability.

This is a time for that homecoming parade, those and American Legion barbeques, those speeches of patriotism and thankfulness. Icall upon you and all the members of Congress to get involved, get updated,lend support, and the America that thosemen fought for in the jungles of South East Asia

Phillip Jennings, USMC, Vietnam Veteran

Phillip Jennings served in Vietnam with the United States Marine Corps, flying helicopters, and in as a pilot for Air America. He is the author of the critically acclaimedcomic novels “Nam-A-” and “Goodbye Mexico and won the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Societyfirst prize for fiction with his short story, “Train Wreck in a Small.” A successful entrepreneur, he iscurrently CEO of Molecular Resonance Corporation, which is developingtechnology to detect and disarm Improvised Explosive Devices. He lives with hisfamily near SeattleWashington


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