50 Years Ago, Today

Steve Garrett – 1967

Do you remember where you were on January 10, 1967. I remember the day well; I arrived back in the United States after serving in the Air Force, in Vietnam, 5 days short of a year. Over the last 50 years I have often been asked if I thought the Vietnam War was a ‘good’ war?  Seems like a stupid question since there is no such thing as a good war.

The question would more properly be whether the Vietnam war a necessary war? And, after 50 years of reflection I do not know the answer to that question. Certainly, the 58,220 Americans would not have dies if we never committed a single member off the American military to the war. On the other hand, the millions of Vietnamese, Laotians and Cambodians might feel very differently about the necessity of the commitment of the American military. Several million of those people did die, and several million more probably would have died absent our involvement. The necessity of any war depends on where you stand. Are you one of the persecuted or are you one of the defenders of innocents?

What I do know with a certainty is I am proud of my service.  I also am confident that the woman I encountered at the San Francisco Airport who called me a baby killer and spit on me should be ashamed of her actions. All those obnoxious ‘war protestors’ should have put their energy into defending the lives of the millions of non-Americans who lost their lives in the conflict that engulfed Southeast Asia for several decades.