30 Years Later

Reflections on the end of the Viet Nam War

| April 28, 2005

The United States withdrew from Viet Nam 30 years ago. To commemorate the anniversary Utne.com offers the following links.

Laurel Wamsley, the daughter of a Viet Nam veteran, went to Southeast Asia in search of forgiveness and was surprised to find herself welcomed. Her story, originally published in Common Dreams, was featured in the January/February 2005 issue of Utne magazine.

In the same issue of Utne, Ed Tick writes about his experiences as a psychotherapist who leads reconciliation trips for war veterans and examines the continued effects of Agent Orange on the Vietnamese people.

Created and written by Suel D. Jones, the 'End of the War in Vietnam, 30th Anniversary Message, Petition to U.S. Citizens and Veterans of Vietnam War,' commemorates the end of the war with a formal apology to Viet Nam. The petition explains that 'while Vietnam has never demanded an apology from the U.S. for our massive armed intervention in Vietnam's internal affairs, we nonetheless wish to take this opportunity to express our recognition of America's role in causing tremendous devastation of natural resources, economic dislocation, loss of life, and pain and suffering for millions of people.'

In August of 1964, President Lyndon Johnson, prompted by alleged attacks against American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin, announced retaliatory action against the North Vietnamese. In 1994, 30 years after the Tonkin incident, Norman Solomon wrote that 'by reporting official claims as absolute truths, American journalism opened the floodgates for the bloody Vietnam War.'

Some Viet Nam veterans plan to mark the anniversary by protesting their post-war treatment. 'We believe that April 30, the 30th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, is the right time to call attention to the fact that 30 years after the end of that war, veterans of all eras are still battling to preserve the benefits they have and assure adequate funding for veterans health care,' Thomas H. Corey, National President of Viet Nam Veterans of America, says in a press release. The group is planning a rally April 30 for veterans' health care on Capitol Hill.

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