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From D-Day to Khe Sanh, America is Nothing Without its Veterans



Vietnam War 1966June 7, 2014

From the pen of Forrest L. Gomez, historian, author, Vietnam veteran and friend.

MEMORIES OF DAYS GONE BY:

Well, my friends, as most of you know this week we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, on the coast of France, in 1944. Many historians consider this battle the most important and pivotal in history, and many of us have fathers, grand fathers, uncles, etc who were either there or in the followup European theater campaign, when victory was anything but a foregone conclusion. The fighting, carnage, and heroism are well-documented in memorials, movies, books, and documentaries, but one in particular always stands out in my mind.

It was 1964, the 20th anniversary of the D-Day landings. I was just finishing the 9th grade. The country was still mourning the assassination of JFK, and the Gulf of Tonkin Incident was about to turn our world upside down. That evening, I watched a special showing, in black and white, of former President Dwight Eisenhower walking on Omaha beach with Walter Cronkite. (Cronkite’s Vietnam surrender was still four years away.) Cronkite asked pointed questions about that desperate battle, and Ike was loquacious and detailed in his answers. I remember that Ike took no credit for the success of the battle itself, not having been there obviously, but spoke forcefully of the corporals, sergeants, young officers, and individual heroes who got the pinned down soldiers up and on their feet, and led them to take the steep heights above the beach, at great cost. He went on to praise the excellent support of the Navy and Air Corps, and almost sounded like he hadn’t had anything to do with the entire campaign.

This was one of the events that made that generation shine, without a doubt. Oh, they had their faults; racial prejudice was a problem, and many people were hardened and bitter, having endured the Great Depression. But one has to think deeply and fondly of President Eisenhower that day (and always), and wonder what has happened to true statesmen in the White House. In a time when our present chief executive can spike the ball (which he does often) about a single positive achievement – getting Bin Laden – and nothing else, we feel ourselves adrift sometimes, like the age of heroes is over.

We’ve seen the entire left in this country seemingly drawing little distinction between a deserter and a Medal of Honor recipient, and our wounded and mind-damaged veterans denied treatment in what is allegedly the best medical system in America, and single payer at that.

It’s up to you and I, brothers and sisters, to keep the real heroes alive in our minds and hearts, from Omaha Beach, to Khe Sanh, to Ramada. Don’t let the Morlocks force a forgetfulness, I beg of you! America is nothing without its veterans. May God hold you all in His mighty embrace forever, and give you peace.

– The Sarge

Reposted with permission of the author on Reagangirl.com  6/7/14


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