The Times West Virginian

Headline News

March 30, 2013

Vietnam memories still strong

The last U.S. combat troops left Vietnam 40 years ago Friday, and the date holds great meaning for many who fought the war, protested it or otherwise lived it.

While the fall of Saigon two years later is remembered as the final day of the Vietnam War, many had already seen their involvement in the war finished — and their lives altered — by March 29, 1973.

U.S. soldiers leaving the country feared angry protesters at home. North Vietnamese soldiers took heart from their foes’ departure, and South Vietnamese who had helped the Americans feared for the future.

Many veterans are encouraged by changes they see. The U.S. has a volunteer military these days, not a draft, and the troops coming home aren’t derided for their service. People know what PTSD stands for, and they’re insisting that the government takes care of soldiers suffering from it and other injuries from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Below are the stories of a few of the people who experienced a part of the Vietnam War firsthand.

‘Patriotism Needs To Be Celebrated’

Jan Scruggs served in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970, and he conceived the national Vietnam Veterans Memorial as a tribute to the warriors, not the war.

Today, he wants to help ensure that veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan aren’t forgotten, either.

His Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is raising funds for the Education Center at the Wall. It would display mementos left at the black granite wall and photographs of the 58,282 whose names are engraved there, as well as photos of fallen fighters from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“All their patriotism needs to be celebrated. Just like with Vietnam, we have to separate the war form the warrior,” Scruggs said in a telephone interview.

An Army veteran, Scruggs said visitors to the center will be asked to perform some community service when they return home to reinforce the importance of self-sacrifice.

“The whole thing about service to the country was something that was very much turned on its head during the Vietnam War,” Scruggs said.

He said some returning soldiers were told to change into civilian clothes before stepping into public view to avoid the scorn of those who opposed the war.

Text Only
Headline News
  • U.S. outlines case against Russia on downed plane

    Video of a rocket launcher, one surface-to-air missile missing, leaving the likely launch site. Imagery showing the firing. Calls claiming credit for the strike. Recordings said to reveal a cover-up at the crash site.

    July 21, 2014

  • James Garner Obit.jpg 'Maverick' star James Garner, 86, dies in California

     Actor James Garner, whose whimsical style in the 1950s TV Western "Maverick" led to a stellar career in TV and films such as "The Rockford Files" and his Oscar-nominated "Murphy's Romance," has died, police said. He was 86.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Given life term, drug offender hopes for clemency

    From the very start, Scott Walker refused to believe he would die in prison.
    Arrested and jailed at 25, then sent to prison more than two years later, Walker couldn’t imagine spending his life behind bars for dealing drugs. He told himself this wasn’t the end, that someday he’d be released. But the years passed, his appeals failed and nothing changed.

    July 20, 2014

  • Teen’s death puts focus on caffeine powder dangers

    A few weeks before their prom king’s death, students at an Ohio high school had attended an assembly on narcotics that warned about the dangers of heroin and prescription painkillers.
    But it was one of the world’s most widely accepted drugs that killed Logan Stiner — a powdered form of caffeine so potent that as little as a single teaspoon can be fatal.

    July 20, 2014

  • Monitors try to secure Ukraine plane crash site

    International monitors moved gingerly Saturday through fields reeking of the decomposing corpses that fell from a Malaysian airliner shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine, trying to secure the sprawling site in hopes that a credible investigation can be conducted.
    But before inspectors ever reach the scene, doubts arose about whether evidence was being compromised.

    July 20, 2014

  • Without radar, missile may not have identified jet

    If Ukrainian rebels shot down the Malaysian jetliner, killing 298 people, it may have been because they didn’t have the right systems in place to distinguish between military and civilian aircraft, experts said Saturday.
    American officials said Friday that they believe the Boeing 777 was brought down by an SA-11 missile fired from an area of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

    July 20, 2014

  • For Obama, foreign crises grow more challenging

    Surveying a dizzying array of international crises, President Barack Obama stated the obvious: “We live in a complex world and at a challenging time.”
    And then suddenly, only a day later, the world had grown much more troubling, the challenges even more confounding.

    July 20, 2014

  • U.S.: Can’t rule out Russian role in plane downing

    U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power told an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Friday that the United States cannot rule out that Russia helped in the launch of the surface-to-air missile that shot down a Malaysia Airlines jet over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

    July 19, 2014

  • Clinton papers: Of Iraq, bin Laden and Supreme Court

    President Bill Clinton’s advisers carefully considered how to explain the president’s military action against Iraq in 1998 as the House was debating his impeachment, according to records from the Clinton White House that were released Friday. The documents also touch upon Osama bin Laden, consideration of military action in Haiti in 1994 and preparationsfor Supreme Court nomination hearings.

    July 19, 2014

  • Panel supports early release for 46K drug felons

    Tens of thousands of federal inmates serving time for drug crimes may be eligible for early release under a cost-cutting proposal adopted Friday that would dramatically reduce the nation’s prison population over time.

    July 19, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads