Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day

March 30, 2011
March 30, 2011, has been designated “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.”  I am posting a very informative article below that pretty much sums up many of our feelings, memories and facts of the Vietnam era and its Military Veterans.  I can imagine that younger people today will embrace the recognition without any thought and simply accept it as a day of recognition and remembrance, without really understanding what it means.


The reality is that it’s a national disgrace that 35 years after the end of the Vietnam War, we should even have to have a “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day,” but we are, because it’s well overdue.  As the below article points out, the Vietnam War era was very misrepresented by the media and others.   

During the past few years our society very angrily voices its disagreement with the Westboro Baptist Church and their protest against todays Military, and yet during the Vietnam era, this same type of protest against the Military was common, reported as the voice of the majority,  and for the most part unobstructed.  Could you imagine today protesting against our Military and outcry you’d receive from society (the Dixie Chicks have never recovered), and again during the Vietnam era those who called our Military murders, baby killers and literally spit, threw trash and physically assaulted our Military were admired, respected and rewarded for their actions.  Some have even risen to the status of Professors, molding minds, like Bill Ayes (now that’s another story).   

So, I submit that it is overdue and we should recognize and Welcome Home the Vietnam Veterans. Please read the below article and watch the video at the bottom of the page.  Warren Martin

Welcome Home Vietnam Vets Day
The following story has been submitted by a user of semissourian.com. To submit your own story to the site, click here.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
User-submitted story by M.Riney
Thank You, Vietnam Veterans
By LTC. Carolyn Abell, US Army, Retired 

"No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now. Rarely have so many people been so wrong about so much. Never have the consequences of their misunderstanding been so tragic." -- Richard Nixon from his book, "No More Vietnams" 

Earlier this month the United States Senate declared March 30, 2011 as "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day." This particular date was chosen because on March 30, 1973, remaining U. S. troops withdrew from Vietnam under the terms of the Treaty of Paris. 

In a resolution introduced by Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina and co-sponsored by five other senators, including Georgia's Johnny Isakson, the Senate is encouraging Americans across the country to recognize Vietnam veterans for their sacrifice and to make them feel the gratitude of a country that sent them to fight. "It's time they receive the recognition they have earned and deserve," declared Senator Burr. 

While Richard Nixon might have had his faults as President, the above statement about the Vietnam War is spot on. Largely due to intentional misreporting by anti-war press members, a number of myths and falsehoods were generated and have continued to be perpetuated about this war and the men who fought it. 

Statistical evidence contradicts most of these lies. For one, the majority of Vietnam veterans declare they are glad they served (91percent), with74 percent saying they would serve again, even knowing the outcome. In contrast to the popular notion that a great number of Vietnam veterans were drug users, a myth promoted by such movies as "Apocalypse Now," information from the Veterans' Administration indicates that there is no difference in drug usage between Vietnam veterans and non-veterans from the same age group. 

The few isolated atrocities committed by American servicemen were blown out of proportion, causing the general public to wonder if they had evolved into savage and inhumane beasts reminiscent of the degenerate boys in "Lord of the Flies." The truth is that while we had a few incidents, the North Vietnamese routinely committed such atrocities against our side--a fact that seldom got reported. Former service members such as Charles Henderson have documented some of the most heinous acts of torture imaginable inflicted on United States soldiers and Marines by a female North Vietnamese Captain, whose cruel and deviant brutality earned her the nickname, "Apache Woman." Thanks to Carlos Hathcock, one of the most talented and self-disciplined Marine snipers of all time, "Apache Woman" did not live to make Major. 

A 97 percent rate of honorable discharges among Vietnam veterans should quell any myths that they were largely lawless heathens. According to a speech by Lt. Gen. Barry McCaffrey in 1993, 85 percent of Vietnam veterans made a successful transition to civilian life. General McCaffrey further stated that these veterans' personal income levels exceeded their non-veteran counterparts of the same age group by more than 18 percent. He added that Vietnam veterans had a lower unemployment rate than the non-vet age group. 

Another prevailing myth is that a disproportionate number of blacks were killed in the Vietnam War. Statistical evidence shows that 86 percent of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasians. Only 12.5 percent were black, while the remainder were "other races." These percentages were in direct proportion to general population statistics at that time. 

A lot of people think, too, that the Vietnam War was fought by the poor and uneducated. In actuality, these veterans were the best educated forces our country had ever sent into combat, with 79 percent having at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Many had taken some college courses or even earned a degree.
The survival rate of Vietnam veterans was also much higher than in previous wars, thanks largely to MEDEVAC helicopters. Pilots of these birds flew nearly 500,000 missions, airlifting over 900,000 patients. The average time lapse between wounding to hospitalization was less than one hour. As a result less than one percent of all American wounded who survived the first 24 hours, became fatalities. 

Perhaps the highest testimonial to the quality of our Vietnam veterans, is that so many former draft-dodgers and cowards now want to claim credit for military service they never gave. And there is no greater insult to the ones who actually served. 

I think the average American appreciates the sacrifices of all veterans. There is nothing more noble and honorable than serving one's country in the armed forces. Vietnam veterans answered the call to duty, and they continue to serve today with acts of national patriotism, community involvement and serving in elected offices. 

Make it a point this Wednesday to thank a Vietnam veteran. Tell him "Welcome home."
My goal for the book is to preserve the memories of men who died too young--who gave all they could give for a cause they believed in. It is because of them that I sit here in a land of freedom and plenty. May they never be forgotten!

Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day from Dave Perkins on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Public Unions Get Too 'Friendly

They resemble 'On the Waterfront' more than 'Norma Rae.'

This is an excellent article on the public Union subject. Peggy Noonan's editorial in today's WSJ:

When you step back and try to get a sense of the larger picture in the battle between the states and their public-employee unions, two elements emerge. One seems small but could prove decisive, and the other is big and, if I'm seeing it right, carries significant implications.
The seemingly small thing is that the battles in the states, while summoning emotions from all sides, are not at their heart emotional. Yes, a lot of people are waving placards, but it's also true that suddenly everyone's talking about numbers; the numbers are being reported in the press and dissected on talk radio. This state has a $5 billion deficit; that state has projected deficits in the tens of millions. One estimate of New Jersey's bill for health and pension benefits for state workers over the next 30 years is an astounding $100 billion—money the state literally does not have and cannot get. The very force of the math has the heartening effect of squeezing ideology right out of the story. It doesn't matter if you're a liberal or a conservative, it's all about the numbers, and numbers are sobering things.
The rise of arithmetic as a player in the drama is politically promising because when people argue over data and hard facts, and not over ideological loyalties and impulses, progress is more possible. Governors can take their stand, their opponents can take theirs, and if they happen to argue the budget problem doesn't really exist, they'll have to prove it. With numbers.

Asst. Editorial Features Editor David Feith on teachers union priorities

The big thing that is new has to do with the atmospherics of the drama.  Let's look for a second at one of the most famous battles, in New Jersey. A year ago Chris Christie was sworn in as the new governor. He immediately faced a $10.7 billion deficit and catastrophic debt projections. State and local taxes were already high, so that if he raised them he'd send people racing out of the state. So Mr. Christie came up with a plan. He asked the state's powerful teachers union for two things: a one-year pay freeze—not a cut—and a modest 1.5% contribution to their benefit packages.

The teachers union went to war. They said, "Christie is trying to kill the unions," so they tried to kill him politically. They spent millions on ads trying to take him down.
And it backfired. They didn't kill him, they made him. Chris Christie is a national figure now because the teachers union decided, in an epic political drama in which arithmetic is the predominant fact, to ignore the math. They also decided to play the wrong role in the drama. They decided to play the role of Johnny Friendly, on whom more in a moment.
If the union leaders had been smart—if they'd had a heart!—they would have held a private meeting and said, "Look, the party's over. We've done great the past 20 years, but now taxpayers are starting to resent us, and they have reason. They're losing their benefits and footing the bill for our gold-plated plans, they don't have job security and we do, taxes are high. We have to back off."

They didn't do this. It was a big mistake. And the teachers union made it just as two terrible but unrelated things were happening to their reputation. In what might be called an expression of the new spirit of transparency that is sweeping the globe, two documentaries came out in 2010, "The Lottery" and "Waiting for Superman." Both were made by and featured people who are largely liberal in their sympathies, and both said the same brave thing: The single biggest impediment to better schools in our country is the teachers unions, which look to their own interests and not those of the kids.

In both films, as in real life, the problem is the unions themselves, not individual teachers. They present teachers who are heroic, who are creative and idealistic. But they too, in the films, are victims of union rules.

That's the unions' problem in terms of atmospherics. They are starting to destroy their own reputation. They are robbing themselves of their mystique. They still exist, and they're big and rich—a force—but they are abandoning the very positive place they've held in the American imagination. Polls are all over the place on union support, but I'm speaking of the kind of thing that is hard to quantify and that has to do with words like "luster" and "tradition."
Unions have been respected in America forever, and public-employee unions have reaped that respect. There are two great reasons for this. One is that unions always stood for the little guy. The other is that Americans like balance. We have management over here and the union over here, they'll talk and find balance, it'll turn out fine.  But with the public-employee unions, the balance has been off for decades. And when they lost their balance they fell off their pedestal.

When union leaders negotiate with a politician, they're negotiating with someone they can hire and fire. Public unions have numbers and money, and politicians need both. And politicians fear strikes because the public hates them. When governors negotiate with unions, it's not collective bargaining, it's more like collusion. Someone said last week the taxpayers aren't at the table. The taxpayers aren't even in the room.

As for unions looking out for the little guy, that's not how it's looking right now. Right now the little guy is the public school pupil whose daily rounds take him from a neglectful family to an indifferent teacher who can't be removed. The little guy is the beleaguered administrator whose attempts at improvement are thwarted by unions. The little guy is the private-sector worker who doesn't have a good health-care plan, who barely has a pension, who lacks job security, and who is paying everyone else's bills.

This is a major perceptual change. In my lifetime, people have felt so supportive of unions. That great scene in the 1979 film "Norma Rae," in which the North Carolina cotton mill worker played by Sally Field holds up the sign that says UNION—people were moved by that scene because they believed in its underlying justice. When I was a child, kids bragged if their father had a union job because it meant he was part of something, someone was looking out for him, he was a citizen.

There were hiccups—the labor racketeering scandals of the 1950s, Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters. But they served as a corrective to romanticism. Men in groups will be men in groups, whether they run a government or a union. Budd Schulberg and Elia Kazan captured this in their 1954 masterpiece, "On the Waterfront," in which Terry Malloy, played by Marlon Brando, stands up to the selfish, bullying union chief Johnny Friendly. Brando's character testifies to the Waterfront Commission and then defiantly stands down Johnny and his goons. "I'm glad what I done today. . . . You hear me? Glad what I done."

We're at quite a moment when public-employee unions remind you of Johnny Friendly. They're so powerful, such a base of the Democratic Party, and they must think nothing can hurt them. But they can hurt themselves. And they are. Are they noticing?