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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 May, 2005, 07:49 GMT 08:49 UK
Vietnam War anniversary: Your views
Morning commuters ride past a poster marking the 30th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam war in Ho Chi Minh City
The 30th anniversary of the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam war will be commemorated this week.

The southern city of Saigon - later renamed as Ho Chi Minh City - was surrendered on 30 April 1975 to Vietcong troops following the evacuation of the remaining American administrators.

US troops had been sent to help fight the communists in the protracted and bloody war that accounted for heavy loss of life and numerous atrocities against civilians.

Do you have memories of the Vietnam war? What do you think is its legacy? Did the conflict teach the world anything about foreign policy?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

I was living in California and used to send care packages to a friend who had been drafted (from Seattle, a teacher). Having been born and raised in England, I viewed this war with great concern at the time and just wanted to support my friend with love and understanding. When he came back to the US he took off for Europe on a motor cycle - he just wanted to get away from it all. It is only now that I understand why he had to do that. God bless all those young US men who were called to Vietnam, I wish them peace now.
Dodie, Toronto, Canada

I am a Vietnam era veteran. I feel the utmost compassion for our veterans who served in that futile conflict. It is a shame to see history repeat itself so soon in Iraq.
Michael Dodson, Tallahassee, USA

The conflict taught the Vietnamese people that it was worth fighting for your people
Gary Ockenden, Nelson, Canada
I was a Canadian military General's son who supported the war in the early years and actively demonstrated against it in later. The conflict taught the Vietnamese people that it was worth fighting for your people. I'm afraid it is still a wound in the American psyche that not only has not healed - it is being picked at every day because of the parallels with Iraq.
Gary Ockenden, Nelson, Canada

During the 1990's I made a number of visits to Vietnam for months at a time. During the Vietnam War I was aware that many of the serious issues were obscured and shouted down by what is now known as the loony left. However, from my visits I have learned two things. Firstly that the Americans were right to intervene, although their tactics, or rather the lack of them, cost them the war. Secondly, by losing the war, the Americans let in the most vicious regime imaginable. The boat people didn't risk their lives to escape a benign and altruistic system. I spoke to many people who had been sent to political realignment centres. These were merely forced labour camps for dissidents where the prisoners were worked into the ground and, after 14 hours of sweated toil, they were subjected to two hours of political indoctrination when large tracts of Marx and Lenin were repeatedly read at them and, if, after a number of sessions, they were unable to repeat the passage word for word, they were beaten and put in solitary confinement. I have no time for America but I have considerably less for the bleeding hearts and do-gooders who support communism and other forms of totalitarianism.
Peter, UK

A communist regime or not, it is our own matter. If you want to fight communism or capitalism, do it in your own country. It is very sad that we became victims of the struggle between the superpowers. All the Vietnamese people should have serious lessons to learn from this war. Thankfully, we are at peace and much better off now.
A Vietnamese, Cambridge, England

Another nail in the coffin of American adventurism. I applaud the Vietnamese people. Goes to show that things happen naturally at their own pace, as prosperity is showing up in Vietnam despite the dire predictions of the Americans thirty years ago.
Gary, Seoul, S Korea

War is abhorrent. However, speaking as the daughter of a Vietnamese immigrant in the US, can we really say that the war is forgotten? Millions of lives were lost and four of my uncles are dead. Another one of my uncles had two strokes while in the re-education camps. Many of my relatives were casualties of the war. Can you truthfully say that the Vietcong bettered Vietnam?
Caroline, Indianapolis, IN, USA

My brother made many combat assaults in the country back in '67 and '68. He was a hero to me then and is still now. He didn't like communism then and he does not like it now. He never lost an engagement he was in but our government and media decided to abandon the South Vietnamese to their sad future under totalitarianism. I'm not surprised that the wonderful people of Vietnam have still been able to flourish under their communist rulers. I understand that their veterans are not treated very well though which is shameful in any country.
Mark, CT, USA

The Vietnam War may be over but its consequences for the Vietnamese people are not
Vincent, Boechout, Belgium
The Vietnam War may be over but its consequences for the Vietnamese people are not over. I was shocked to discover that the usage of Agent Orange is still destroying lives in Vietnam today. Has enough been done to put this great injustice right?
Vincent, Boechout, Belgium

What surprised me was that after being kicked out of Saigon, the Americans were so spiteful that they joined with the Chinese to support Pol Pot, who went to war with the Vietnamese soon after. Thankfully the Vietnamese won that war too and put an end to the murderous regime in Cambodia. Therefore to say that America was fighting for the principles of justice and democracy is frankly nonsense.
Ian, Hanoi, Vietnam

Harold Wilson kept us out of this war, even though surely history would have vindicated him for supporting it. Wake up Mr Blair, and learn the lessons of history.
Ed, London

I view this anniversary as a time to mourn, a time to remember and a time to forgive. The Vietnam War was just a portion in the Cold War but a very big part of world history. I wish that the United States could have learned from their mistakes 30 years ago and not have gotten involved in the war on terrorism today. I hope we will all learn from our mistakes in the future.
Spencer Tobin, Canton, US

The history of the Vietnam War has been distorted by the propaganda of its time and rarely corrected. The US created communism in Vietnam by denying support to the movement fighting for independence from French colonial rule. The nationalists then turned to the communist nations for armaments, immediately being labelled communists themselves. No one has yet fully learned the lessons from the conflict as international policy is still based on short term alliances for immediate personal gain rather than long term resolutions.
David, Livingston, Scotland

I do see huge similarities between Vietnam, and its eventual outcome, and the present situation in Iraq. If we are not careful and do not formulate a proper exit strategy the result for all the invading countries, and their armies will be the same. "Those who cannot remember history are condemned to repeat it."
Dave, England

America never seemed to learn the lessons of 30 years ago
Justin, Singapore
America never seemed to learn the lessons of 30 years ago, that wars shouldn't be fought lightly and over dubious decisions. Vietnam is a powerful reminder of this, which the world's sole superpower refuses to face up to.
Justin, Singapore

One of the smartest things the UK government ever did was to not be directly involved in the conflict in Vietnam. Too bad those smarts have skipped a generation!
T, Shetland, UK

Was communism stopped as a result of this war? Not in Vietnam, but perhaps in other places. The war demonstrated America's determination to enforce the policy of opposing communism. Last I checked people stilled enjoy freedoms. This is why we are able to respond to this website!
Mike Falzoi, New York, USA

I view the Vietnam War as a battle in the bigger war against communism. Vietnam may have been a battle that we lost, but in the end the Soviet Union collapsed, the Iron Curtain fell, and the US emerged not only victorious over communism in the Cold War, but also became the only true superpower. We may have lost that battle for Vietnam, but we won the Cold War.
Sean, Orlando, US

The US has not learnt anything from her defeat in the Vietnam war. One's perceived righteous might not be right for everybody.
Wan Othman, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I salute the Vietnamese people for their heroic struggle against oppression by the US
Jon Davis, USA
I salute the Vietnamese people for their heroic struggle against oppression by the US. For US veterans, I'm sorry you were so duped by Uncle Sam but I understand. In particular, I also salute those vets who later recognized the folly of the US.
Jon Davis, USA

The incident in the Vietnam war shows the extent to which the Americans have no heart at all for the poor people who's fields were spread with that orange thing. It just pains me to read such an article of a person who's born after the war but still feeling the effects of the war. If the Americans truly have a heart for the world as they say, they should do something for those people suffering in Vietnam. They should remember this. It is because of them that those people are becoming deformed.
David Chisanga, Lusaka Zambia

As a person who protested the war in Vietnam I never thought I would see America return to the folly of fighting a war for the ungrateful.
Suzann Dodd, Kingston, Jamaica

The lesson of Vietnam is that the US should have continued the carpet bombing of the north until the surrendered or were all killed. At least the millions in the south who died after the US pullout at the hands of the NVA would have survived.
Kevin L Feck, Cincinnati, USA

I believe there's one other difference between how the US and Vietnam view the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Vietnam is a Buddhist country and America is a Judeo-Christian country. Judeo-Christianity speaks eloquently of forgiveness. Buddhism lives it!
Shanti, Olympic Peninsula, WA USA

The war criminals of World War II have been judged, but those of the Vietnam War have yet to pay their debt to humanity.
Leon, Arizona, USA

My father was one of the last Americans lost in Vietnam; I was not yet born and so did not know him. What amazes is that while most in the US are certainly aware of how many Americans died in the conflict, no one here really understands how many Vietnamese perished in what amounted to a near-genocide of an ancient and beautiful people. Additionally any discussion of the war's legacy should include America's unintended bounty-- the thousands of Vietnamese war refugees who came here after '75 and who contribute vibrantly to the American experience.
James, Los Angeles/CA

After its dedication in 1987, I took my grown daughters to the Oregon Vietnam Veteran's Memorial here in Portland. I wanted to try and tell them what those years were like for me as a teenager and the impact to my life. I wanted them to try and understand the hope of what might have been, and the sorrow for what was lost. It was a very emotional experience. On the wall I found names of friends who graduated in my class of 1966. I found the boy who shared my first kiss. My heart ached. Another was my best friend's date at the Senior Prom. He died in Cambodia. And there were many others. As my fingers touched the names, I could see their faces and sense their presence as if time had stood still.
Cathy, Portland, OR, USA

As a Vietnamese American and only three years of age when I left with my family, I have mixed feelings about the war. One side of the argument, our family has benefited greatly from living in the states. However, as I've gotten older, I've realised that the war probably was an act of misguided US foreign policy. Vietnam has taught us that as a country the U.S. and its allies continually make the same mistakes.
Thy Nguyen, Chicago, IL, USA

The larger war against communism was won
Mark, Arizona, USA
As a Military Policeman during the Vietnam war, I remain convinced of the rightness of the US mission there. While that battle was lost, the larger war against communism was won. Vietnam, and China as well, would do well to recognise that fact of history.
Mark, Arizona, USA

I think the war in Vietnam fulfilled its purpose, that is it showed that the USA was ready to protect its allies, win or lose. That way it strengthened Nato in face of the Warsaw Pact and although the conflict was lost in a military sense, in the end it helped Nato more than it helped the USSR.
Vladimir, Belgrade, Yugoslavia

I am a Vietnamese who was born after the war. It is true that today the Vietnamese people don't often talk about the war. But it doesn't mean that they have forgotten it. The war is over and we have to get on with our lives. My country Vietnam is on the way to its future. And although there are some mistakes, but who and what is perfect, anyway?
Vu Ngoc Hoa, Hanoi, Vietnam

The United States fought for economic reasons alone
Mark, Brisbane, Australia
The Vietnamese fought for independence and political reasons. The United States fought for economic reasons alone. Vietnam posed no threat the USA, and in fact, no communist country ever did, not even Russia. America only took interest in Vietnam because it was afraid of losing a market. The Vietnam war proves that, to Republicans at least, dollars are more important than foreign lives.
Mark, Brisbane, Australia

Thirty years later my father is still fighting his demons left over from Vietnam where he was sent after being drafted. After Vietnam he spent an additional 20 years in the military because, ironically enough, that was the only place he felt safe. Now as a civilian, he is a trapped man. The Vietnam war took my father just a surely as if he had died there.
CB, Houston, TX

America's knee-jerk reaction to HCM venturing south and the horrific consequences which followed is a lesson which we should not forget. Sadly, given George W's recent crusades, it seems we already have.
Matthew, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Looks like the politicians and the American people never learned from the mistakes of the Vietnam war. The similarities of the lies and loss of life in Vietnam and Iraq are so similar, I cannot believe that half the Americans voted for the same regime in 2004's elections. Unbelievable.
Steven, Clifton, NJ, USA

I fear the human race will never learn to stop wasting lives
Paul, Gainesville, FL, USA
As a disabled Vietnam veteran I do not think the world and particularly America have learned anything. Another group of official government lies, another intelligence error, another decade of corporate war profits, another Pentagon white wash and most sadly another tragic loss of life for all sides. My memories have never left me and I walk with my ghost everyday of my life. I fear the human race will never learn to stop wasting lives. Is it not easier to feed and shelter folks, than it is to attack them?
Paul, Gainesville, FL, USA

As we fought the war to protect capitalist interests and establish the supremacy of the "free market" system over communism, it looks like we won. Vietnam is now a viable "market," ripe for exploitation.
Bob, Seattle, USA

The war was lost not in Vietnam but on the streets in American cities, the politicians fearing they would be voted out of office capitulated and pulled the plug on the war. The real losers were the South Vietnamese people who were abandoned by America and left to be slaughtered by the Communists once America turned tail and ran. Millions of Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians paid the price with their lives when Americans left that part of the world.
Pete, KC USA

I salute those men and women who lost their lives on both sides
Jason Scott, London, UK
Even though I abhor the terrible loss of life on both sides and the destruction of large parts of a very beautiful country, even though I think the war was waged not just by soldiers but weapons manufacturers looking for profit, even though the legacy of that terrible conflict refuses to die away, we must remember that the Vietnam war was not an isolated war but rather a protracted battle within a larger conflict between democracy and communism. I realise that it is not all black and white and that democracy lost that particular battle, but in the end, through the sacrifice of those combatants and others like them we know that democracy, even with its undeniable flaws, flourishes and continues to evolve, like the peoples who use it. I salute those men and women who lost their lives on both sides and I hope that one day this protracted war for the rights of people will be well and truly won by democracy.
Jason Scott, London, UK

After the US bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Americans offered all possible help to the Japanese to rebuild their defeated nation. But, they have virtually done nothing to help Vietnam where millions died as a direct result of American foreign policy, bombs, and chemical weapons (Agent Orange). Why? I notice several Americans on this forum urging us to forget the past and get on with life! Does this make sense? The sufferings of the Jews under Nazism is a holocaust (and rightly so) but, the deaths of 6 million Vietnamese caused directly or indirectly by America is a mistake?
Sharath Shivashankar, San Ramon, CA, US

Vietnam was just a playing field for superpowers, US, Soviets and China. None of the players really wanted to win they just wanted to drag it out and wear down the other guy until he got tired or what he wanted. The Soviets wanted to weaken the US to divide the US attention between Asia and Europe. The Chinese wanted to have a friendly Vietnam, and also a Vietnam that was weakened by war that they could control. The US was trying to curb communism but was afraid of a Korean style war. In the end it was the US that gave up and left the game. It was the Vietnamese who lost, both North and South. Hopefully Vietnam learnt its lesson not to get caught in international affairs.
V Do, Saigon, VN

I was there too. At the time it made me mad, now it just makes me sad. What a waste. What a joke on us. And damned if we aren't still falling victim to the same joke.
Curt Carpenter, Dallas, TX, USA

The US policy in Vietnam was based on lies. Two big ones were that South and North Vietnam were two countries and that the SEATO Treaty obligated us to defend the south. Neither were true and when you base a policy on lies, that policy fails. This is why this horrendous crime still haunts Americans today and will continue to do so until we admit to the crime and make appropriate reparations.
David Hughes, Pittsburgh, USA

These people are getting on with their lives. Let's all just get on with our lives
Charles, Hanoi, Vietnam
I've been living in this country for five years, and I often forget that it was once ravaged by wars. I don't think locals here talk much about the war unless a western tourist happens to bring up the subject. These people are getting on with their lives. Let's all just get on with our lives.
Charles, Hanoi, Vietnam

As a son of a Vietnam vet and a Marine Corps vet myself, I'm still waiting for Bush to learn to ignore the rest of the world. They don't need our help.
Joshua, Gladstone, MI, USA

The legacy of the Vietnam War is no different from any war at any time - death, mutilation, grief, fury.
Rosemary Gilbert, San Francisco, USA

Had the South Vietnamese troops stood their ground and not turned tail from the fight, the war would have been won. As a Marine there, I witnessed many occasions where these troops ran from the fight. Why shouldn't they when the Americans were there to do the fighting and dying for them?
Fischer, USA

America lost what was left of its soul in that war
Bob Fostert, Dillon, MT, USA
I was a marine in Vietnam in 1970-71. America lost what was left of its soul in that war. Since Vietnam, the only people in the world who don't appear aware of America's embrace of the dark side are many of the American people themselves.
Bob Fostert, Dillon, MT, USA

The Vietnam War was the biggest foreign policy/military blunder in US history. The invasion of Iraq runs it a close second. Time will tell if the gap between them closes.
JB, Santa Fe, USA

The Legacy of the Vietnam War is that of being the first war that America lost. The returning soldiers were treated badly, many did not return and all the loss of life ended up being for nothing. Hopefully, the future of American warfare is that of having a clear purpose, exit strategy and absolute respect for the military which fights it.
Dwayne Chastain, West Jefferson, Ohio USA

I served as a rifleman with the US 1st Infantry Div. in Vietnam in 1966. There is not enough space here to record my thoughts and memories. Suffice to say that after nearly 40 years some of the things I saw still haunt me now.
Milton, Bath UK

April 30th 1975 was the saddest day for all of us in our family. That was the day the Vietcong came and took our father away to the so-called re-education camp and we never saw him again after that. His family was not informed about his death until several years later. The Vietcong took away my father's dignity when he was alive just because his political beliefs were different from theirs. Every year on April 30th, it is the day when we feel saddened not liberated. We are all here now in the USA and we thank the American government and American people who gave us a second chance in life. We are proud to be Vietnamese Americans and we love the USA not by birth but in our heart.
Ngoc-Diep, Little Saigon, California, USA

We must honor and pray for our servicemen.
Stacy, Columbus, OH
One of the most notable tragedies on the US side is how our soldiers were treated at home. My father tells me stories that while he was in the service (drafted) they were instructed not to go into public bathrooms or other secluded areas alone. Many of these soldiers were forced into service through the draft and the American public spat on them. Hopefully, Americans have learned that even though many of us do not agree with the Iraqi war, we must honor and pray for our servicemen.
Stacy, Columbus, OH

I spent a year studying in Vietnam from 1998-99, my trip having been sparked by a quote I came across: "Vietnam is a country, not just a war." We in the US have never fully realized that so I wanted to find out what I was missing. What an amazing country! The war was terrible on all sides and certainly more destructive to the Vietnamese than anyone else, but it does not define who they are. It's their country and so they had to clean up the mess and I think they've done a pretty amazing job.
Rachel, Milwaukee, USA

My father is a Vet. To this day fireworks displays make him nervous during the 4th of July celebrations. The man was giddy over what recently happened to Jane Fonda and despises anyone who actively protested against the troops that were sent to Vietnam. To this day, anytime he meets another Vietnam Vet, he greets them with a "Welcome Home" since few in the US shared that same respect for our fighting men and women of the time. He didn't ask to go, and has urged me never to consider military service especially when you can be a draft dodger and still be elected to the highest office in the US!
Joe, US

I was there. It is a war that gave the United States of America absolutely nothing, and resulted in the deaths of three million Vietnamese and fifty-eight thousand Americans, all so that some companies might become bloated and rich.
David, Portland, USA

If Vietnam taught us anything it's that politicians meddling in military affairs, drafted soldiers and allowing selective reporting by a biased media are not ways to fight wars. At least in Iraq America isn't using drafted soldiers.
James MacMillan, Glasgow, Scotland

I was 16 years old when the war ended. I was greatly relieved, as I was sure I would be drafted immediately upon turning eighteen. Fight, run to Canada, become a priest or a conscientious objector, what to do? What was the war all about anyway? The situation in Vietnam was too confusing for this American teenager to get his mind around. How did other kids figure it all out? My heartfelt sympathy for all those, both American and Vietnamese, that had to.
Steve Mac, Boston, MA, USA

That war was a political loss to democracy and freedom. Militarily the US was never given the free hand to execute the war as we should have. The peaceniks and appeasers allowed South Vietnam to become what it is today. A far cry from what it could have been.
Todd, Virginia, USA

The true atrocity of Vietnam was how Americans treated their own troops back home
Shane Watts, USA
I'm glad my generation is not making the same mistake that my parents' did. When our soldiers come home, regardless of how we feel about the war, we welcome them with dignity and gratitude for their service. The true atrocity of Vietnam was how Americans treated their own troops back home.
Shane Watts, USA

The Vietnam of today is very different from the Vietnam of 30 years ago. It is a unified country that is moving well into the future. Some of the impacts of the war are still lingering such as Agent Orange and unexposed land mines. Despite all that, the Vietnamese people have moved on and mostly, have forgotten about the war. It is time that we in the US do the same.
H Pham, San Diego, CA

I live only minutes from the largest Vietnamese community outside of Vietnam. They still hold a strong hatred of Ho Chi Minh and of Communist Vietnam. I remember one time when a shop owner tried to hang a picture of Ho Chi Minh and thousands of Vietnamese stormed the streets and tried to burn his shop down. Some say the Viet Cong liberated Vietnam and its people, but it is clear to me that not all Vietnamese would agree.
Nate, Orange County, USA

The USA has learnt nothing from the Vietnam debacle - as events in Iraq show today.
Phillip Wedgwood Brand, London

The US should withdraw from the world stage and mind its own
Tom Coyle, Easton, PA, USA
As a returned vet from the Vietnam War I think the US should withdraw from the world stage and mind its own. We are not needed or wanted. All of the Middle East is not worth the life of one American. Let the world take care of itself.
Tom Coyle, Easton, PA, USA

My thoughts are with the families that lost loved ones. When will the USA be taken to court for the war crimes they committed during their invasion? And when will they learn that this behaviour only turns the world against them? Vietnam is a magnificent country - I lived there for a short time and I have not found such warmth and friendship anywhere else.
Ian Davies, London

We should take this opportunity to remember those (conscripted) young men who fought in this war. In 1970, when I lived in the US I met a number of 'lucky' soldiers who had returned and witnessed the damage done to them - not only physically, but psychologically through drugs that were freely available to them in order to counter the horrors of their situation. For some of them, this war will never be over and the US administration needs to ensure that they are not forgotten.
Pat H, London

Vietnam showed to the world that no nation can accept a system, however better it may sound, being imposed from outside.
Srinivasan Toft, Denmark

War is ugly but sometimes it has to be done
Jan, Seattle, USA
If we want to talk about war then let's mention every war. No country has learned anything. Not just America but all countries who have ever fought in a war. My ancestors fought and some died in the Revolutionary war. If not for them we Americans would not have the freedoms we do today. War is ugly but sometimes it has to be done. World War Two is another example. Can you just imagine how bad things would be if Hitler had of survived and won? So get real people and stop judging and stop being hypocritical.
Jan, Seattle, USA

What never ceases to amaze me is that somehow the truth of the Vietnam War has not reached people in either the West or Vietnam itself. As a result of the US assault on Vietnam, 3,000,000 people from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia were killed (by the US bullet). A further 3.5 million died of either starvation or disease. That makes 6.5 million deaths. Given that this statistic may even be an understatement, it is truly amazing that US historians continue to gloss over the war by referring to it as a 'mistake'. It was no 'mistake'. It was another holocaust!
Chris Ralph, Auckland, New Zealand

It's been 30 years but I'll wait as long as possible to see a new Vietnam where Vietnamese citizens can freely elect a democratic government and properly protect the rights of its people.
Elizabeth Nguyen MBBS, ScD, Auckland, New Zealand

The treatment of American GIs returning from Vietnam was so painful, we never want to treat our troops like that again
Jim Hopewell, Maryland USA
I served in the US Army in the Vietnam era, but not in Vietnam. The treatment of American GIs returning from Vietnam was so painful, we never want to treat our troops like that again. Unfortunately, powerful lobbies in DC have the power to obtain the use of the American military to accomplish their self-interests, as in Iraq. How long do we have to face the contradiction of nurturing our troops, while opposing an illegal, wrongful military engagement?
Jim Hopewell, Maryland USA

I remember a lot about the days before Vietnam fell. I arrived in Oklahoma City on the day Saigon fell. I was brought to the US by a missionary who I met up with in Saigon. I was one of 23 who came from a boarding school orphanage in Kontum. My father was from the Dak Ak village who fought beside the US. He also died serving his country with his American friend. We are the Halang tribe. In Vietnam we would still be the minority. I look at the war and only see the good that I have in the United States. I would gladly lay down my life for this country. I am proud to be a US citizen and I am also proud of be a Halang from Vietnam. I had an opportunity to visit in '95 and '96. I found my mother, younger sister and brother and their family. What happened has changed my life forever. I take it and realized that I am in a better place.

War is only the last step when countries can not agree. We live in a world where we all have our own thoughts and that is why we are so different. Therefore, unless we are united with one goal. We as a world will never be at peace. We can hope, but look at all the wars back to the beginning of time. We have been lucky to be in a country so far that had not have to fear war on our soil. I believe the American people take their freedom for granted and are too selfish to fight for others. Freedom is not free, it takes work from people who defend our country. I bet that all the people who complain about the war would never sacrifice their lives. Look at the wall of the Vietnam memorial and other monuments that symbolize the true heroes who gave their lives. Then go look at the stones in the local cemetery and tell me how you feel. I salute these men and women my father fought with, giving his life for me that I might be free, I wasn't in Vietnam, but he gave me a better place. I am very sad to hear people gripe about fighting for our nation. They are our protectors. They are our hands and feet. God Bless America.
Ajen Dollarhide, Tulsa, Oklahoma

I hope the Vietnam veterans also honour their past achievements, and are always willing to put the past behind them
Walter, Hong Kong, China
The Vietnam War is history. The USA lost, and withdrew, and tried to put it in the past. Iraq is just another war in the string of world events. The USA will lose, and withdraw. History is a record of success and failure. But every new generation dislikes the study of history, so it is destined to repeat it in some time and fashion. I served in the USA military from 1959 to 1975. I did not always agree with the political or military leaders reasons for being in Vietnam. But as an American, I honoured my oath, and did not hate the enemy, but did my duty. I hope the Vietnam veterans also honour their past achievements, and are always willing to put the past behind them.
Walter, Hong Kong, China

Dear William Hoang, San Juan, Puerto Rico, there's no conflicts between communism v democracy. I would to say that today Vietnam is getting better and better. Of course it's not as rich as the US, England, etc, but we're going in the right way of development. Sometimes we make mistakes, but we always have a desire to avoid mistakes. Vietnam would love to make friends with any country for the sake of development, peace and wealth. After the war ended, Vietnam had been struggling to overcome the hostile attitude from other countries and from ourselves, step by step we've been mending the wounds of the war to help the country on to the road of development. We've been trying our best and we need much help from others. The war has ended, and now it's times to destroy the hatred, the conflicts, the hostilities...
Hung, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Despite all the talk that it would never happen again, seems to me that we in the US forgot the lessons of Vietnam less than a generation later. The parallels of Iraq and Vietnam are stunning - both wars based on lies to satisfy the US military-industrial complex. When will America learn? How many more of our sons and daughter must die? How many more non-Americans must die?
Andy, Irvine, CA, USA

If all the atrocities reported had happened, I and seven other Americans could not have lived among the people
Don Mc, Grimesland

As a Marine Intelligence Officer, speaking the language, I spent two tours there, living with the people. The Vietnamese did not want communism, a failed system. If all the atrocities reported had happened, I and seven other Americans could not have lived among the people, not on a base, or even close. The press/world news never explains this. A war fought and won in the media.
Don Mc, Grimesland, NC, USA

It was bad that my country (South Vietnam) was betrayed by the most powerful allied country (USA). Since the war ended there have been no human rights, democracy or freedom of speech there.
Hoa, Houston, TX, USA

My memories of the Vietnam War include draft dodging teachers teaching at my high school, looking at pictures of the war in Life magazine, and also not really understanding what the whole conflict was about. It could be said I had a fair degree of detachment from the realities of it.
Charles, Montreal, Canada

Looking at the images of the Vietnamese Agent Orange victims, of war destruction, I just wish it never happens again to any other country. I also just wish the South and the US never lost the war, so that South Vietnam could have been economically powerful and democratic as South Korea today. I want to blame the civil war, and the fact that Vietnam now is decades behind South Korea and the rest of the world, on the communist regime. It is time for the regime to wake up and perform vast political and economic reforms. I hope a close relationship between the US and Vietnam will help us accomplish that dream. God Bless Vietnam.
Khoi, Kansas, US

This war was justified. It cost both sides dearly but the result to stop communism was completed. Vietnam will become democratic over time and so will the rest of the world. One world system is being born still ever slowly. The US lost this war because of the lack of support not the lack of will. Things would have been much different had this war been supported at home to the max. USA did not lose this war, it gave it away.
Oris, Missouri, USA

The war taught us nothing
Marjo, Seattle, USA
The legacy is that governments must tell the truth and not victimize nations that are vulnerable under the banner of destroy communism with the domino theory of foreign policy. We were defeated by a much smaller nation who clearly knew their own identity and fought valiantly to preserve their culture and values. The war taught us nothing. In my view our illegal invasion of the sovereign nation of Iraq is doomed because the WMD theory is bogus and the people of Iraq do not want invaders in their country. In both cases, precious lives are lost and maimed for life on every side. Sheer insanity.
Marjo, Seattle USA

I was called and proudly served my country. But it's in the past and best left there.
TF, Raleigh, NC

Let us not forget that the seeds to the Vietnam War were sown when the French, who had overstayed their welcome, vindictively made a mess of things when they finally driven out, leaving a country divided. Had they not, perhaps - just perhaps - Vietnam might have followed a different and more prosperous path, such as Malaysia or Singapore.
S Spencer, New York, NY

I was a Navy Hospital Corpsman from 1964-1966. I saw many medevacs to our hospital in Oakland, CA, most of which were psychiatric cases. What strikes me the most is that this country has developed an apparent selective memory loss over that war as evidenced partially by our willingness to re-elect Mr Bush over Senator Kerry who actually served in Vietnam. I suspect the US as a society has learned little if anything from that war although I doubt this is the case with most other developed nations. The same old jingoistic slogans pervade our daily life in alleged support for the Iraq war. Perhaps the profiteers of wartime just have more influence than statesmen.
Brian Blackman, Missoula, MT, USA

I know a number of Vietnam veterans. They all look back on the conflict with a profound sense of regret for the friends they lost. Vietnam was a painful tactical defeat for the USA, but it was huge strategic victory. This not so simple fact is so often overlooked, but the US effort in Vietnam effectively stifled all Soviet attempts at hegemony via aggression by proxy states throughout SE Asia, and gave them serious pause for thought in the Middle East.
Ian Sedwell, Weymouth, UK

I was 14 when Saigon and then South Vietnam fell to the communists. Even though the South was ravaged by the long war, its economy and living condition then were far more superior than now, 30 years of peace under the Communists later. Thanks, in my view, to the American cowardice and betrayal, the South Vietnamese have endured 30 years of living in fear and poverty. Let's hope that the American will be better friend the second time around.
Tuan Nguyen, San Francisco, USA

Seeing Bush pursue this odious of all campaigns in Iraq confirms to me that nothing was learnt from the huge US failure in Vietnam.
Ed, UK

Vietnam paid a horrible price for American interference
Kate, Maryland
It is pathetic that my country has learned nothing from the legacy of Korea and Vietnam. For the last half century, the United States has repeatedly violated the sovereign rights of other nations. It is profoundly ironic that a nation founded on the principle that people have a right to choose their own form of government grew to become a nation that denies this right to other nations.

In each of these unjust, unfounded wars, thousands of innocent civilians have been killed, not to mention the steep cost in lives for American soldiers. And, in every case the threat has been specious. Vietnam paid a horrible price for American interference. I wish that the world and particularly America had learned from this, but sadly the lessons have been forgotten.
Kate Treatman-Clark, Annapolis, Maryland, US

The Vietnam War should have taught the Americans that they are not invincible and that technology has limits. However it appears that George Bush has not learned from Vietnam and continues to believe that the Iraq situation will improve some day. Unless American and so-called coalition of the willing troops remove their noses from the business of others more needless lives and money will be wasted.
Jason K Lee, Toronto, Canada

The Vietcong put my father in the so-called concentration camp and he never returned home
Lan, Los Angeles, USA
The Vietnam War is always in my mind even. I was little during the war but that war cost me my father. The Vietcong put him in the so-called concentration camp and he never returned home after that. He was killed in that camp due to the lack of medicine, sanitary and human rights. I cannot forgive the Vietnamese communists for taking my father away from me and my family. Who give the Vietcong that right?
Lan, Los Angeles, USA

One thing I'd like to point out is the lesson the Bush regime learned from the Vietnam war: control as much as possible the information coming from the war zone and your own population will not rebel against the war.
Changcho, California, USA

I just wish Vietnam was a democracy. If Vietnam was a free country, its citizens would be better off. End Communism now!
William Hoang, San Juan, Puerto Rico

The US has taken on some lessons. Returning soldiers are no longer an embarrassment and quickly forgotten. Body counts are no longer part of the evening news. Collateral damage is no longer used offhand to describe civilian casualties. However hearts and minds campaigns are still being waged and there seems to be no clear disengagement plan and no clear purpose for some overseas military intervention.
Clive, Milwaukee, USA

Millions of Agent Orange victims are still suffering from what happened decades ago
Viet, Oklahoma
Being a Vietnamese born after the war, I did not experience the war myself. However, the war's legacy is still vivid in Vietnam. Almost every commune in Vietnam has a cemetery of our soldiers who sacrificed their youth for the country's independence. Millions of Agent Orange victims are still suffering from what happened decades ago, not only the soldiers, but their innocent children. And the war still leaves a scar in the American society. Let's hope that the war's lessons teach people how to get along and live together in peace. It's a shame to still see people dying everyday elsewhere in the world because of various wars. Give peace a chance.
Viet, Oklahoma, USA




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