The Vietnam War was the longest in U.S. history, until the war in Afghanistan that began in 2002 and continues at this writing (2013). It was extremely divisive in the U.S., Europe, Australia and elsewhere. Because the U.S. failed to achieve a military victory and the Republic of South Vietnam was ultimately taken over by North Vietnam, the Vietnam experience became known as “the only war America ever lost.” It remains a very controversial topic that continues to affect political and military decisions today.
As a result of America’s loss in Vietnam, there was a misperception that the men who fought there did not measure up to their predecessors in World War II and Korea. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” said General Frederick C. Weyand, United States Army. During the course of General Weyand’s military career, he served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
Perhaps the cruelest aspect of the war was the treatment of the returning soldiers. Unlike the hero status given to the returning soldiers form World War II, the soldiers that served in Vietnam were portrayed as baby killers, psychos, drug addicts and war mongers. It was not an uncommon scene for returning soldiers to be confronted at airports by protesters carrying signs with anti-war slogans.
The Patriot Ride is going to make its contribution to righting this wrong. Vietnam war veterans served and sacrificed like all previous and current combat troops and deserve the recognition and thanks they earned. Even if has been a long time coming. We also, intend to recognize the many military members who gave their lives serving in this brutal southeast conflict.
The Minnesota military presence in the Vietnam War was vast. 68,000 Served, 1,077 Killed, and 43 remain Missing. We want to take time during this event to properly acknowledge and solute those who served and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Numbers can be impersonal … often a picture tells the story.
Take a minute and visit the Virtual Wall. The Faces, Names, and Home Towns of the 1,077 Minnesotans’ who died in the Viewnam War will have a lasting impact.