Today in History: U.S. Withdraws from Vietnam
I never understood why my friend Mary wore a pewter-colored bracelet on her left wrist to school, until the day she explained its meaning; her older brother, a mere 18 year old boy, was drafted for service some months prior, and unfortunately taken by soldiers in the North. Where exactly, she did not know — it was for sure a long way away, somewhere in a small country on the other side of the globe — but she said her prayers and lived in constant hope of Charlie’s safe return. Wearing the bracelet seemed to help reassure, while symbolizing the solidarity of sentiment over a war that none of us could fully understand.
I remember the horrible images on television, my older brother warning me, quietly saying I should probably not watch the news. Eyes glued to the old black and white portable in the corner of his bedroom, he’d stay up way past bedtime, probably wondering how long it would all last, and if he might be at risk for duty in the years ahead.
Vietnam was a name that caused my mother to shake her head and shudder. For, in the depths of a bitter Chicago winter, a cold, deathly feeling pervaded among most folks we knew living on the North side of town, and, just a few months later, tragic news hit home. Mary had lost not only her brother, but shortly thereafter, her mother from a sudden heart attack. It had been a long winter, and would prove a very long and costly war.
On March 29, 1973, the last American troops left Vietnam, following an eight-year intervention in which 58,000 Americans and two million Vietnamese died in a war against the communist North Vietnamese. Widely considered one of the longest (over 19 years) and least popular wars in American history, the Vietnam War began with the struggle of the French colonial forces against the native Vietnamese who were supported by Chinese communists. When the French left, the U.S. came in with active ground troops, but efforts proved unsuccessful by South Vietnam to reclaim the North.
The following articles are selected from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.
- Ward, J. (1969, Oct 29). The Moral Issue in Vietnam War. The Austin Statesman (1921-1973)
- Marder, M. (1973, Jan 28). How We Got in and How We Got Out……the Complete Record. Boston Globe (1960-1985)
- Special to The New York Times. (1973, Mar 30). Text of Talks by U.S. General on Leaving Vietnam. New York Times (1923-Current File)
- Wren, C. S. (1973, Apr 01). The Woes of Coming Home: Legacy of the War. New York Times (1923-Current File)
- Special to The New York Times. (1973, Apr 25). Texts of Notes by North Vietnam and U.S. Sent to Peace Conference Participants. New York Times (1923-Current File)
- United, P. I. (1975, Apr 30). Chronology of Vietnam War. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File)
- By a staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor. (1973, Jan 25). Chronology of Vietnam War and How U.S. Got Involved. The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current File)
- It Began with Advisers 2 Decades Ago. (1975, Apr 30). Boston Globe (1960-1985)
- Peterson, I. (1975, May 01). The Long War in Vietnam: A History. New York Times (1923-Current File)
- Butterfield, F. (1975, May 25). How South Vietnam Died by the Stab in the Front. New York Times (1923-Current File)
- Harsch, J.C. (1976, Apr 23). Year After Vietnam War: Who Gained What? The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current File)
- Did you know that Teachers College faculty, William Gaudelli and Margaret Crocco, led the design of a new curriculum entitled Vietnam Now? The course debuted at Teachers College in the summer of 2009.
- Read about The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a wall that lists the names of more than 58,000 men and women who served in those controversial war and see the database of searchable names.
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