In this episode of the Vietnam Veteran News podcast, we will be taking a look at the slippery slope that led to the creation of a monument in Washington, DC where 58,307 names of fallen Americans were etched on a black marble wall. When the process is examined it becomes reminiscent of a dream where the dreamer is being pushed toward a steep cliff by an unstoppable force. When the dreamer falls over the cliff they wake up and realize it was only a dream. In this case the dream turned out to be a real nightmare for the mothers of those named on the Vietnam War Memorial Wall.
The events leading up to our presence on the slippery slope were presented in a story found on the army.mil website titled: U.S. Army Helicopter Evolution during the Vietnam War. The story was submitted by Dr. Kaylene Hughes who is an AMCOM Historian. She pointed out how our fear of Communism overrode what seemed like clear logic.
Before World War II, France owned Indochina. In that war the Germans defeated France and this allowed the aggressor’s friend and ally, Japan, to take the Indochina prize along with its rubber plantations and other resources for their use in fighting the war. The staunch Vietnamese nationalist Ho Chi Minh cooperated with the Americans in fighting the Japanese. As a reward for his cooperation, he was promised by the Americans that he could lead an independent Vietnam after the war.
Unfortunately the rise of the world wide Communist threat nixed that promise. We reneged on the promise so Ho decided to fight for independence as we had against The King of England.
A war of more than ten years followed with the deaths of millions. Ironically the end result came about regardless of the lives and fortunes sacrificed on both sides. Today Vietnam is united, we are friends with the Vietnamese against a common enemy – Communist China.