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President Reagan's Tribute to Vietnam War Veterans

November 19, 1988

President Reagan cannot begin to heal the deep divisions of the Vietnam War until he recognizes and states that the real lesson is this: Young Americans must never again be sent to fight and die unless the American people are convinced that the war is necessary to save a truly democratic nation from the military imposition of a foreign tyranny.

Americans in two world wars showed themselves capable of great and supreme sacrifices when this lesson was heeded. This lesson would end the blame implied that some Americans helped "lose" the Vietnam War; this lesson would unite us again, and, most deeply, it would be true to the Jeffersonian principles at the foundation of our great republic.

WILLIAM E. PERKINS

Pacific Palisades

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