Got Freedom? Thank a Vietnam Warrior

During the recent 75th D-Day anniversary celebrations, I happened to go into a Chinese takeout spot.  As I waited in line, the young man behind the counter was loudly pontificating at the customer in front of me about the wrongfulness of the Vietnam War.  I stepped up to the counter and said, "Why are you doing this?  There may be veterans in this store, or their families.  They sacrificed everything for your freedom.  Do you really want to insult them?"

He replied, "I am on their side.  They didn't want to be there."

I said, "Of course they didn't want to be there.  What young man wants to face being killed, to see his buddies killed, to have poisoned spikes shoved through his feet?  They wanted to be just living their lives like you are.  They answered the call of duty so you could be free.  The first generation of Americans who won't answer that call, our freedom is over."  He looked stunned.  I said, "See this counter and this cash register and the nice car you have parked out back?  This nice store your family has?  All this you have because they stood up to the Soviet Union.  If America hadn't done that, you think you'd be standing here shouting your opinions in a communist country?"

He said, "But they lost the war."  I said, "The North won that battle; the Soviets lost the war.  They won their war in 1989, when the Soviet Union collapsed.  By the way, they also won freedom for East Germany and Poland and Czechoslovakia and Hungary and...and Finland!"  I was having trouble recalling the Soviet satellite states and discontinued that vector of persuasion.

The young man said, "My family is Vietnamese, but I am an American.  I love America, but the Vietnamese people didn't want the Americans."

My voice rose, "Blame Ho Chi Minh for that!  Blame that miserable communist.  He kept them down, not us."

At this point, an older lady stuck her head out of the kitchen with a look that ended the conversation.  Humanity superseded history.  We fell into a sympathetic silence, which I broke by asking, "Why do you sell Chinese food?  Why not Vietnamese food?"  He said, "There is no market for Vietnamese."  We  agreed how terrible the food is at the only Vietnamese restaurant in the area.  Then the lady emerged from the kitchen brandishing shrimp and broccoli and profuse wishes for the niceness of my day, which I interpreted as 'don't let the door hit your hiney.'"  But the young man introduced his family in the kitchen, who offered quick nods and smiles above the crackling fryers and bubbling pots.

I am not knowledgeable of history, but I know there have been four periods in American history of what the left-wing multisyllablist yappers call existential threats to our nation.  We have defeated every enemy, which is why we still exist as one nation.  Americans had to die to overcome the British, slavery, Nazism, and Soviet communist imperialism.  Of those, the only victory we do not celebrate as a nation is the most recent and perhaps the most difficult one of all — our victory over the Soviet Union.

My father was drafted into the Second World War, though he was 31 years old and married.  He was a medic in a hospital on Long Island.  Our family preserved his uniform and commendations.  With reverence, he shared stories of soldiers going overseas and the gratitude of returning soldiers for the care they received.  In 1942, his wife gave birth to a son, and she died in childbirth.  My brother was raised by his maternal aunt and uncle.  Like his father, he served as a medic, in Vietnam.  His service has been all but eradicated from family history.  There is an understanding that I do not ask questions about it.

America celebrates my father's service every year.  My brother's service is not celebrated at all.  It is swept under the musty carpet of history, although my brother's service protected us from a foreign enemy as certainly as my father's did.

It would have taken a single bullet to Hitler's brain to take the steam out of German Nazism.  It took forty-four years of armed resistance, from 1945 to 1989, tens of thousands of American lives sacrificed in two horrible wars, a million bullets, a billion military man-hours of global police work, and a full-on nuclear crisis to face down the Soviet Union until it collapsed.  German Nazism hinged on a raving lunatic and amounted to an insane cult about a mythical super-race from the continent of Atlantis.  Nor would crackpot notions about Japanese racial superiority have been a sturdy platform to subjugate 100 million Americans.  By comparison to Hitler's madness, Soviet totalitarianism from Stalin throughout the Cold War was led by perfectly sane, brutal tyrants.  One bullet would have brought forth only a power struggle among bloody despots waiting in the wings to take their fallen comrade's place.

Communism exalts the few masters who have a weakness for power and crushes the masses who have been rendered too weak for freedom.  Ultimately, my father's service is extolled and my brother's is buried because American elites have always had a soft spot for communism.  For one hundred years, cultural elites cozied up to communism, culminating in the Obamas — who spent so much time in China not just for the egg rolls.

Our nation is currently engaged in a conversation about patriotism.  The highest American patriotism is to understand the long War for Freedom, 1945 to 1989, and celebrate its victorious conclusion with the collapse of the Soviet Union.  The history of the Vietnam War is always taught from an anti-American, communist-sympathetic perspective.  Patriotism calls for a radical rejection of that false narrative.  Also, when we see images of the fall of the Berlin Wall, remember and thank Vietnam warriors and all the U.S. military who made that possible.

The Vietnam War formally ended on April 30, 1975.  Perhaps the Korea War will end on April 30, 2020.  Congress should declare April 30 a day of national celebration of victory in the War for Freedom, with emphasis on gratitude to Vietnam warriors.  The most famous memorial of that war is a somber remembrance of death.  It is time for celebration of the great victory over a powerful and determined adversary that preserved the freedom we enjoy.

The so-called proxy wars with the Soviet Union were restricted in scope due to the overhanging threat of nuclear holocaust.  Those "lost" wars in southeast Asia demanded of America a great humility, which we had not known before.  Those wars were not lost; they were stopped.  Our nation gathered the courage to stop, without losing the courage to resist communism, until we prevailed.

The valor of the warrior arises from the inspiration to fight for one's own nation, people, and beliefs.  Parasitic globalism typified by the U.N. and the E.U. can never inspire that sacrifice.  These hollow governments consume the vital fluids of living nations.  Pure communism is also obsolete.  It gasps for breath in small, wretched countries such as North Korea and Cuba,  the decrepit victims of bygone Soviet imperialism.  We know that elites like Google executives still hate freedom and love to canoodle with communists.  Nevertheless, since 1989, technology has shrunk the world so much that there may never be such a tragic event as the Vietnam War again.

Whatever the future holds, American warriors carried the modern world on their backs to this point.  May such sacrifice not be necessary again.

During the recent 75th D-Day anniversary celebrations, I happened to go into a Chinese takeout spot.  As I waited in line, the young man behind the counter was loudly pontificating at the customer in front of me about the wrongfulness of the Vietnam War.  I stepped up to the counter and said, "Why are you doing this?  There may be veterans in this store, or their families.  They sacrificed everything for your freedom.  Do you really want to insult them?"

He replied, "I am on their side.  They didn't want to be there."

I said, "Of course they didn't want to be there.  What young man wants to face being killed, to see his buddies killed, to have poisoned spikes shoved through his feet?  They wanted to be just living their lives like you are.  They answered the call of duty so you could be free.  The first generation of Americans who won't answer that call, our freedom is over."  He looked stunned.  I said, "See this counter and this cash register and the nice car you have parked out back?  This nice store your family has?  All this you have because they stood up to the Soviet Union.  If America hadn't done that, you think you'd be standing here shouting your opinions in a communist country?"

He said, "But they lost the war."  I said, "The North won that battle; the Soviets lost the war.  They won their war in 1989, when the Soviet Union collapsed.  By the way, they also won freedom for East Germany and Poland and Czechoslovakia and Hungary and...and Finland!"  I was having trouble recalling the Soviet satellite states and discontinued that vector of persuasion.

The young man said, "My family is Vietnamese, but I am an American.  I love America, but the Vietnamese people didn't want the Americans."

My voice rose, "Blame Ho Chi Minh for that!  Blame that miserable communist.  He kept them down, not us."

At this point, an older lady stuck her head out of the kitchen with a look that ended the conversation.  Humanity superseded history.  We fell into a sympathetic silence, which I broke by asking, "Why do you sell Chinese food?  Why not Vietnamese food?"  He said, "There is no market for Vietnamese."  We  agreed how terrible the food is at the only Vietnamese restaurant in the area.  Then the lady emerged from the kitchen brandishing shrimp and broccoli and profuse wishes for the niceness of my day, which I interpreted as 'don't let the door hit your hiney.'"  But the young man introduced his family in the kitchen, who offered quick nods and smiles above the crackling fryers and bubbling pots.

I am not knowledgeable of history, but I know there have been four periods in American history of what the left-wing multisyllablist yappers call existential threats to our nation.  We have defeated every enemy, which is why we still exist as one nation.  Americans had to die to overcome the British, slavery, Nazism, and Soviet communist imperialism.  Of those, the only victory we do not celebrate as a nation is the most recent and perhaps the most difficult one of all — our victory over the Soviet Union.

My father was drafted into the Second World War, though he was 31 years old and married.  He was a medic in a hospital on Long Island.  Our family preserved his uniform and commendations.  With reverence, he shared stories of soldiers going overseas and the gratitude of returning soldiers for the care they received.  In 1942, his wife gave birth to a son, and she died in childbirth.  My brother was raised by his maternal aunt and uncle.  Like his father, he served as a medic, in Vietnam.  His service has been all but eradicated from family history.  There is an understanding that I do not ask questions about it.

America celebrates my father's service every year.  My brother's service is not celebrated at all.  It is swept under the musty carpet of history, although my brother's service protected us from a foreign enemy as certainly as my father's did.

It would have taken a single bullet to Hitler's brain to take the steam out of German Nazism.  It took forty-four years of armed resistance, from 1945 to 1989, tens of thousands of American lives sacrificed in two horrible wars, a million bullets, a billion military man-hours of global police work, and a full-on nuclear crisis to face down the Soviet Union until it collapsed.  German Nazism hinged on a raving lunatic and amounted to an insane cult about a mythical super-race from the continent of Atlantis.  Nor would crackpot notions about Japanese racial superiority have been a sturdy platform to subjugate 100 million Americans.  By comparison to Hitler's madness, Soviet totalitarianism from Stalin throughout the Cold War was led by perfectly sane, brutal tyrants.  One bullet would have brought forth only a power struggle among bloody despots waiting in the wings to take their fallen comrade's place.

Communism exalts the few masters who have a weakness for power and crushes the masses who have been rendered too weak for freedom.  Ultimately, my father's service is extolled and my brother's is buried because American elites have always had a soft spot for communism.  For one hundred years, cultural elites cozied up to communism, culminating in the Obamas — who spent so much time in China not just for the egg rolls.

Our nation is currently engaged in a conversation about patriotism.  The highest American patriotism is to understand the long War for Freedom, 1945 to 1989, and celebrate its victorious conclusion with the collapse of the Soviet Union.  The history of the Vietnam War is always taught from an anti-American, communist-sympathetic perspective.  Patriotism calls for a radical rejection of that false narrative.  Also, when we see images of the fall of the Berlin Wall, remember and thank Vietnam warriors and all the U.S. military who made that possible.

The Vietnam War formally ended on April 30, 1975.  Perhaps the Korea War will end on April 30, 2020.  Congress should declare April 30 a day of national celebration of victory in the War for Freedom, with emphasis on gratitude to Vietnam warriors.  The most famous memorial of that war is a somber remembrance of death.  It is time for celebration of the great victory over a powerful and determined adversary that preserved the freedom we enjoy.

The so-called proxy wars with the Soviet Union were restricted in scope due to the overhanging threat of nuclear holocaust.  Those "lost" wars in southeast Asia demanded of America a great humility, which we had not known before.  Those wars were not lost; they were stopped.  Our nation gathered the courage to stop, without losing the courage to resist communism, until we prevailed.

The valor of the warrior arises from the inspiration to fight for one's own nation, people, and beliefs.  Parasitic globalism typified by the U.N. and the E.U. can never inspire that sacrifice.  These hollow governments consume the vital fluids of living nations.  Pure communism is also obsolete.  It gasps for breath in small, wretched countries such as North Korea and Cuba,  the decrepit victims of bygone Soviet imperialism.  We know that elites like Google executives still hate freedom and love to canoodle with communists.  Nevertheless, since 1989, technology has shrunk the world so much that there may never be such a tragic event as the Vietnam War again.

Whatever the future holds, American warriors carried the modern world on their backs to this point.  May such sacrifice not be necessary again.