For fifty years politicians, pundits, scholars and others have been trying to figure out what happened in that chapter of US history known as the Vietnam War. Some say the war changed America in profound ways still not understood. Such an event in a nation’s history will generate a great deal of commenting and opining. An example of opining on the subject appeared in the Stars and Stripes piece titled: Vietnam – The loss of American innocence? that was submitted by Terry Leonard.
He was contributing to the Stars and Stripes 50 year commemoration of the Vietnam War. The publication is presenting a series of stories and special projects intended to add context and understanding to the history of that war and to the changes it brought about. The project examines the fighting abroad and the protests, politics and turmoil at home. It includes the voices of veterans who fought and those of others who marched at home for peace.
Terry Leonard’s piece deals with how the war changed American thinking. He points out that when Neil Armstrong trod on the lunar dust in July of 1969 Americans believed we could do anything. Quickly, our experience in Vietnam changed all that. Starting with young Americans, the belief that we could not trust what the government was telling us rapidly spread to their parents and many politicians.
Vietnam fundamentally changed the universal consciousness of the nation. No longer did we believe there was no limit to American power. Today, many scholars contend the war marked the loss of American innocence. It deeply divided a nation unified by World War II and the division and distrust of government continues to grow.
All this may be true but it is time for America to grab itself by the lapels, slap itself a few times and realize we are an exceptional national created with Godly principles. It is incumbent upon all its citizens to live and act in a way so as to appreciate and maintain all the blessings that have been bestowed upon us all as a nation.