Empowering Talk Radio

Remembering Vietnam: The Joan Jerkovich Show

The Vietnam War was one of our most controversial wars in recent history.  The cold war era conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia took the lives of 58,220 service members.  It lasted from November 1955 until ending in April 1975.

In today’s society our veterans are honored, as they should be.  That was not the case with returning Vietnam vets.  They did not return home to waiting camera crews and journalists wanting to capture their emotional reunions with their families, wives and children. They did not get off airplanes at US airports to have waiting passengers, strangers, stand and quietly applaud them as they walked by.  There was no Nancy Grace honoring the memories of our fallen soldiers nightly on her television show.

Our returning Vietnam vets were told to change in to civilian clothes before getting off the plane in the US.  They came home, having patriotically served our country, only to get cursed at, flipped off, and spat on.  Celebrities such as Jane Fonda infamously disparaged our military personnel.  One Vet told me that she went so far as to call Vietnam prisoners of war “traitors” for participating in the war effort!

Let’s not forget that many of our servicemen did not join the military by choice, they were drafted to Vietnam.   The 1969 draft lottery only encouraged resentment of the Vietnam War.  Some who were called to the draft became “draft dodgers”.  They chose imprisonment over military service, or showed their disapproval by publicly burning their draft cards.  Estimates show that about 125,000 fled to Canada to evade the draft.  Many who left had the financial means to do so, further adding fuel to the draft resentment as it left the underprivileged members of society behind.

Anti-war demonstrations activated millions of protestors throughout the world in October 1969 for the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam.   Even our past president, Bill Clinton, while a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, joined in demonstrations in England.

Here in the United States, on November 15, 1969 a second Moratorium march on Washington, D.C. brought in over 500,000 demonstrators.  Pete Seeger led the group in singing John Lennon’s song “Give Peace a Chance”.  A few months later in May, 1970 four Kent State University protestors were killed and 9 wounded in a protest against the US invasion of Cambodia.

Americans were caught up in the trippy society of the day that valued their hallucinogenics, free love, and hippy-dippy lifestyles more than they valued patriotism.  The protestors had a right to free speech.  It’s just unfortunate that the anti-war sentiment of the day was not contained to encompass a criticism of the government officials who were “calling the shots”; but spilled over to the actual service men and women.

Remembering Vietnam.  Take a moment out of your day to honor a Vietnam Veteran for their service to our country.  Honor them for their bravery and courage.  Not just the bravery and courage shown in active duty, but also in returning home to a public that did not support their efforts.  Our society didn’t honor them then, but we can honor them now.

In honor of Veterans Day, listen in to “The Joan Jerkovich Show” this Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 9am to hear two Vietnam Vets talk about their war experience.

The Joan Jerkovich Show

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