COUNTY Fitting ceremony for Vietnam vets
What a difference 50 years makes. American troops who fought during the Vietnam War era were looked upon by some as the enemy.
These individuals, who faced chemical warfare at ground levels, battled on a regular basis in dangerous, jungle-like conditions. Last week, they were saluted during a ceremony in Mayville that marked the 50th anniversary of the Paris Peace Accord that ended the United States involvement in the Vietnam War.
Kirk Miller, a Fredonia resident who serves as a media chairman for the Chautauqua County American Legion, noted what he witnessed at the ceremony. “As veterans, who were mostly legionnaires gathered at the county seat the grumblings of weather were far different this day than the times they spent in the hot and humid jungles of southeast Asia,” he wrote. “Today’s experience would be from bitter cold temperatures that sliced through their parkas in the gentlest of breeze. Bravery was shown again by these men and women as they stood in unison to hear the acknowledgment of their service. (County Executive) PJ Wendel spoke of his desire to welcome home the airmen, Marines, sailors, and soldiers who gave sacrifice to their country and received little reward upon returning to the USA. He spoke of his relationship to this cause stating that he himself was a son of a Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Marine Corps.”
We have lost many of those who were considered part of the “Greatest Generation,” the fighters from World War II. Those who fought in Vietnam are just as significant to our history. Through them, the valiant and proud, we have learned an unfortunate lesson that must live on for generations to come: never disrespect those who have fought for the red, white and blue.