Why is the Vietnam War so remembered in the United States?
Amy Christa Ernano
American all my lifeUpvoted by
C.J. Skamarakas, PhD History (2009) and
Nathan Creager, lives in The United States of America (1983-present)Author has 5.6K answers and 150.5M answer viewsJan 9
Because almost 60,000 young American men died for nothing, in the first war the U.S. ever lost in its history, and one that it never should have gotten involved in in the first place. Have you ever been to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC? I have. My mom took me and my brother when we were kids, and even at 11 years old it was humbling, and made me incredibly sad, to see all those names of all those young men, stretching on and on.
It was also an incredibly divisive war, and split the nation to an extent that no other American conflict aside from the Civil War had ever divided the American people. Even the Kent State massacre, in which four college students were killed and nine more wounded by the Ohio National Guard during a Vietnam War protest at Kent State University, can ultimately be attributed to the war in Vietnam. Americans were at each other's throats over the war; the civil unrest was insane.
The bombing of Cambodia by the U.S. military, and the withdrawal of U.S. support at the end of the war, also contributed to the rise to power of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, and thus to the Cambodian Genocide, which saw a quarter of Cambodia's population killed.
If we ever forget Vietnam, we are in trouble. Some mistakes need to be remembered, in an effort not to repeat them.
(I want to note that I am not blaming our veterans here. Most of them were young, often poor draftees who had no say in the matter. Vietnam was a fuckup on the part of the U.S. government, not its soldiers.)
Lives in The United States of America (1957–present)Author has 4.8K answers and 5M answer viewsJan 10
Ken Burns made a documentary about Vietnam for PBS. I highly recommend it. All of the notions I had about that war were destroyed and I was horrified to find out the truth.
I was 17 when soldiers were returning to the U.S. The ones I met were wounded with scars no one could see. They were spit on. Yelled at at airports. The nice welcome home we saw other soldiers from Afghanistan receive when they came home? The Vietnam Vets were made to feel ashamed—something that should never, ever happen in this country.
A friend of mine was in a bar soon after his return. He was in the Army. He said he’s been to Vietnam and the man next to him pulled out a knife and stabbed him in the leg. It was the only injury he received from the Vietnam War.
Author has 366 answers and 215K answer viewsJan 11
It should be remembered by everybody. While the Americans have a strong history of opposing wars, the Vietnam War was the first one that galvanized the entire country, to the point where it became disruptive for even the soldiers on the ground, half the planet away.
I can’t prove it, but I am sure strategic and tactical mistakes were made out of a desire to wrap up the matter asap. The sheer amount of men and materiel thrown into this fight are witness to this.
The US had to go home not because they were defeated (they could have pushed back for years), but because they ran out of Vietnamese willing to fight and rebuild the country.
They also had to go home because the pressure at home was hard to ignore. The antiwar movement was like a neighbour running his lawnmower during the most beautiful Sunday of the year. The whole f$&@$%^% day. So yeah, annoying as f$@&. It did the deed, something no other antiwar movement managed to do with such an efficiency.
Those movements had shown the whole world that a strong, solid civil movement can and will successfully influence the decisions of the grands of the day.
So electric cars, no more wars, no more waste, no more toxc waste, polluting industries, big pharma abuses, paid healthcare, food stuffed with cr@p, expensive education? Get organized and make yourself heard. It can be done. Fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
Lived in Minneapolis, MNAuthor has 698 answers and 11.9M answer viewsJan 25
I am a senior citizen. My most vivid memory of the Vietnam War was 18 year old kids coming back from Nam in body bags … and young men suffering from PTSD … and men suffering from the effects of Agent Orange. I remember sons and fathers going for years not speaking to each other. I can think of men who got disowned by their families for going to Canada or going underground to avoid being sent off to combat. I remember Vietnam Vets killing themselves. I remember adults yelling at me in anger and disgust when I stated (in a polite way) that I thought the war was a waste of money and a waste of life. My boyfriend (he died in ‘95, may he rest in peace) had PTSD and suffered nightmares and flashbacks til the day he died. The Vietnam War was a tragedy for everyone on all sides.
Knowledge Jan 9
The Vietnam War is one of the only wars that America lost to, besides Afghanistan. The Vietnam War had also suffered a large amount of casualties, 2 million died on both south and north Vietnamese sides. The Americans also had many defeats during the war, unable to gain a lot of victories. The war was increasingly opposed at by Americans, who agreed for terms on peace, and people protested against it. Over 100,000 people protested beside the American White House against the war. The media in the United States showed the American government and military as being violent, showing pictures of Vietnamese citizens being involved in violence, while being unarmed, such as in the My Lai Massacre, where 109 innocent civilians died due to rising conflict across Vietnam. The Vietnamese army also had ambushes and guerilla attacks, surprisingly attacking American soldiers. America was very unprepared, and due to the unpopularity of the war back in America, president Johnson limited the amount of troops in Vietnam. This made the North Vietnamese more powerful, and in 1973, America withdrew all military, and lost the war.
Due to such loss, the Vietnam War is remembered in the United States very seriously.
Lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina (2018–present)Author has 2.1K answers and 608.3K answer viewsJan 9
Because it was an utterly useless war that killed thousands of young men for no discernible reason. And the last US war to use the draft to force men into fighting for something they had no desire to participate in.
Former Retired Federal Employee who took the OathAuthor has 727 answers and 44.7K answer viewsJan 9
President Kennedy had just signed an executive order that would remove 1,000 American soldier each month from Vietnam until they were all home. After this he was promptly assassinated, and Johnson went the other way and put us in a war that didn’t end until 1975. In America this was a poor mans war. The rich were able to shelter their children from involvement in the war with fake doctors notes ie. Donald Trump and George W Bush. Americans were drafted and went to Vietnam, and then came home in a body bag. Vietnam was a civil war, that we should have had no involvement with. There was no ext plan or a plan to win the war. Johnson was picking targets to bomb in North Vietnam from the Oval Office. Johnson was afraid of upsetting the Soviets if we bombed the wrong thing. This was absurd. The kids got out into the streets to make America notice that we should not be there. It took a many years and many dead before all generations came to the same conclusion, the war must stop.
Former Janitor Author has 1.6K answers and 920.1K answer viewsJan 30
It was never a war. Is was a very costly defensive action to protect S. Vietnam from N. Vietnam.
It lasted over 15 years.
A lot of Americans opposed the war.
It spawned a lot of anti-war music.
It was part of the hippie counter-revolution.
It cost a lot of money.
The US military kept lying to the American public about the war, always claiming we were wng.
It was the first televised war.
A lot of Vietnam vets came back with severe PTSD.
It stoked racial tensions as poor blacks disproportionately fought the war, while wealthy white Americans were able to get deferments.
Mohamed Ali lost his World Champion Boxng award, and went to prison for refusing to serve claiming to be a conscientious objector.
Police officer, mystery and true crime writer, Irish Catholic AmericanAuthor has 23.8K answers and 16.9M answer viewsJan 26
Well, for one thing, it wasn’t that long ago, as history measures time.
There are, after all, still a lot of WW2 veterans, and Korean War veterans still alive. And people who weren’t veterans, but were alive during those wars.
There are lot more Vietnam and Vietnam-era veterans still alive. And people who were alive when it was going on.
Many people, living right now, lived through it, or were alive while others were living through it.
Why are you so surprised that it’s so well-remembered?
I’d be surprised if it wasn’t.
Lived in Austin, TXAuthor has 32.3K answers and 19.2M answer viewsJan 13
“Why is the Vietnam War so remembered in the United States?”
Most Vietnam veterans are still alive. For the Korean War and back age has led to so many of those veterans now being dead.
The Vietnam War was the first war ever broadcast on TV on the national news in the US. Setting aside all of the politics of the war, that’s why an anti-war movement was able to grow. Civilians actually saw how horrible it was.
Veto F. Roley
Studied at Washington University in St. LouisAuthor has 2.6K answers and 3.9M answer viewsJan 9
It’s our fourth-bloodiest war in our history behind only the Civil War, WW2, and WW1. It’s the first war since the War of 1812 that we arguably lost — and the fact that North Vietnam reunified violently with South Vietnam in 1975 is proof that we lost (if we had drawn or won the Vietnam War, South Vietnam with its capital in Saigon would still be around today). The war split our nation and caused us to start doubting ourselves. The 1970s were a decade of great doubt for the United States. The one thing Pres. Ronald Reagan did was restore American confidence. But, still, today, everything we do internationally is compared against our Vietnam experience. And, those are just a few reasons we still remember the Vietnam War.