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JIM ‘PAPPY’ MOORE: Some Gave All

By Jim “Pappy” Moore

The Vietnam War cost America over 58,000 dead. The Army lost 38,179. The Marines lost 14,836. The Air Force lost 2,580. The Navy lost 2,556. The Marines lost 5% of Marines who served in Vietnam. The Army lost 2.7% of all Army who served in Vietnam. The Navy lost 2% of all Navy who served in Vietnam. The Air Force lost 1% of all Air Force who served in Vietnam. In addition to those deaths, many who served had serious injuries which have plagued them a lifetime. Many others suffered from the effects of Agent Orange and other chemicals they were exposed to routinely.


The human toll of Vietnam on the Boomer Generation was heavy, and it continues to this day. If you are a Boomer, you know someone whose health is compromised by the injuries they suffered in the Vietnam War.


On Memorial Day we honor those who died in war fighting for America. In every war it is the duty of soldiers to carry out orders. Soldiers do not choose the wars. They only fight them. They do not decide which wars to enter. Politicians and Generals do that. Soldiers follow orders. They are trained to do battle. They are not trained to choose which wars will be fought. 


The Vietnam War was one in which veterans returning home often suffered terrible treatment by those of their generation who did not serve. They were harassed and disrespected upon returning from Vietnam. 


Many who served had their own questions about the advisability of the USA fighting in Vietnam. The most common complaint was “the politicians won’t let us win.” Then news glorified the peaceniks and vilified the soldiers, most of whom did not commit atrocities or condone them. The reality was soldiers learned that many of the people American soldiers were sent to fight for did not really like Americans or want our ways. They had their own views of the world, and believed their country was theirs to rule. They did not like the USA making all decisions about their country and carrying them out. 


Many of those returning from having served in the Southeast Asia theater either in the war or in support of the war felt by 1972 the USA should get out of Vietnam. As a group they felt unloved and unappreciated both in Vietnam and at home for the sacrifices our generation of military had suffered.


Let us be clear, however. We always had the backs of those who were on the front lines, those who were truly putting themselves at risk directly almost every day they were in-country. We close ranks behind all who serve. That is true to this very day. Whatever issues there may be about the policies that put USA military in Vietnam, our country owes those who served a debt of gratitude that cannot be repaid.


As we honor our dead who gave all, know that many of our generation still honor those who gave great sacrifice because their country called on them to do so. Some of those who have suffered from afflictions resulting from their Vietnam service and will eventually die from them. They won’t be counted on the Wall or memorialized on Memorial Day, but they, too, gave all.


Copyright 2023, Jim “Pappy” Moore. All rights reserved.


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