Vietnam War Ended 49 Years Ago: However, the pain persists

The Quilts of Valor team presented 26 local Veterans with a Quilt of Valor in recognition for their service.  Photo Clovis Veterans Memorial District

Jess Gonzalez 

April 4, 2024 – There’s a popular belief that says time is the best way to heal emotional wounds. While that may be true in some cases, there are emotional wounds that not even time can heal.

That was very evident during the observance the National Vietnam War Veterans Day on March 29, 2024, at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District Hall. The special event was organized by The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 933.

The solemn ceremony, to mark the 49th year of the ending of the Vietnam War, honored the over 58,000 Americans who lost their lives in the bloody conflict as well as the veterans of that war who were in attendance.

From the welcoming remarks to the various speakers; the invocation to the benediction; the moving Echo Bugle Taps and the closing—one could feel an open emotional wound still present. A wound that has not yet healed nor that is ready to be overlooked.

The keynote speaker was Fresno City Councilman Garry Bredefeld who served our country as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and worked 27 years as a clinical psychologist with the Veterans Administration. “Vietnam War Veterans suffered greatly and sacrificed much,” the councilman stated.

“Many of those who survived the conflict came home injured physically and emotionally. They were the best of the best—serving with courage and honor at the risk of their own lives—all for the love of country.”

The U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War provoked much doubt and disagreement during the 1960s and 1970s. Among other things, it was said to be a war that was morally wrong, without clear objectives, and was unwinnable.

Unfortunately, the spilling of blood, death, destruction, and emotional trauma are the byproducts of all wars. Yet, the Vietnam War—due to its’ unpopularity–divided our country with its many negatives that went beyond those of other wars.

No other war in U.S. History has caused so much turmoil at home or seen our troops not receive the support they deserved from all Americans.

In cities and college campuses across the country huge crowds protested the U.S. participation in the conflict. Many soldiers in uniform suffered the brunt of the protestor’s ire by being attacked in our own country just for wearing their uniform.

Yet the war was not their fault. They were soldiers sent to fight for their country. Thus, it stands to reason that those who were killed and the many who came home, some with physical and emotional injuries, should never be forgotten for their valor and service to our country.

The March 29th ceremony was special and very well received by all present—primarily the veterans, their families, and friends.

Yet, some empty and many only partially filled tables indicated something noticeable was missing—the public. Yes, it was a weekday morning. But other recent events at the same venue, and held at similar times, have attracted the public.

Additionally, there appeared to be a shortage of local dignitaries. Those noticeable absences—the public and local dignitaries—give the impression Vietnam Veterans are still not receiving their due.

Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the ending of the Vietnam War. The Healing Wall will be brought to Clovis to pay honor where honor is richly deserved.

Till then, let us not forget the heroes who returned and those who didn’t. Let’s remember them with honor and respect for their sacrifice for our country and for all of us!