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Vietnam and the Presidency

March 17, 1992

Vietnam, what a stranglehold just the mention of it has on us. Some of the younger folks must be perplexed by all of this. ("Stinger 34, cease fire! cease fire!") That was 25 years ago now, yet just the mention of that place can bring those haunting memories flooding back. It's not that we haven't got all of that part of our past put away and are getting on with our lives--I haven't had any nightmares about that for years--but there doesn't seem to be any statute of limitations on those memories.

All this talk about who went, who didn't, why and who was right and who was wrong is of little consequence for most of us now. Our problem has been how the Nam veterans were treated--those that made it back--after we got home. That national shame--and the questionable motives behind it--still lies smoldering in the conscience of America's soul. However, none of this really has any present-day application to any individual; it is the nation's problem.

The Vietnam era laid questions on some of the values and principles Americans had held dear for a long time. And we are still struggling to find our new course in history. Whether our new leadership made Nam or didn't is of no consequence now. More to the point should be their ability to lead this country out of this valley of doubt and shame we have staggered into.

DON LOVE, Palm Springs

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