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William Nolde (1929-1973)
May 30, 2011 11:45 AM   Subscribe

Colonel William B. Nolde, 43, Bronze Star and Legion of Merit medal recipient, was killed by an artillery shell near An Lộc on January 27, 1973 - 11 hours before the truce that ended the Vietnam War.
posted by Trurl (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
"How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"
posted by deadmessenger at 12:15 PM on May 30, 2011


Each day to facilitate the process by which the United States washes her hands of Vietnam someone has to give up his life so that the United States doen'st have to admit something that the entire world already knows, so that we can't say they we have made a mistake. Someone has to die so that President Nixon won't be, and these are his words, "the first President to lose a war."

We are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? But we are trying to do that, and we are doing it with thousands of rationalizations, and if you read carefully the President's last speech to the people of this country, you can see that he says and says clearly:

But the issue, gentlemen, the issue is communism, and the question is whether or not we will leave that country to the Communists or whether or not we will try to give it hope to be a free people.
But the point is they are not a free people now under us. They are not a free people, and we cannot fight communism all over the world, and I think we should have learned that lesson by now.
-- from Testimony of Vietnam War veteran, and representative of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, John Kerry to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 22 April 1971

For this, Kerry, awarded three Purple Heart medals during is service in Vietnam, would later be called a coward, often by those who had themselves avoided military service in Vietnam, and mocked by partisans wearing "Purple Heart" band-aids to imply that Kerry had intended his wounds.
posted by orthogonality at 12:19 PM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just the other day, an Iraq War Veteran at home after the finishing his dangerous time in Iraq, was killed by a strong tornado.The saying "when your time is up, its up"
posted by taxpayer at 12:38 PM on May 30, 2011


This is a good post for Memorial Day, but a slight correction:

The Paris Peace Accords ended direct American combat involvement in the war, but the war itself continued for another two years with American material support for South Vietnam. Similarly, it should be noted that the conflict began in 1949, ostensibly between the French and Vietnamese nationalist forces, but with the French receiving direct support from the US during most of this period (it could even be argued that American involvement in Vietnam begins in 1942, with OSS support for the Viet Minh and other anti-Japanese forces).
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:25 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


This book about the last day of World War One details how there were men being killed literally minutes before the war ended (and approximately 2700 died overall that day, which was close to the average daily toll for the war as a whole) because their commanders insisted on last-ditch offensives to pad their resumes, or because they opposed ending the war. Madness.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:32 PM on May 30, 2011


A couple of American soldiers were killed in action the day before the Americans actually left Vietnam on April 30, 1975.
posted by kozad at 1:34 PM on May 30, 2011


War!

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing,

Say it again!
posted by imjustsaying at 2:45 PM on May 30, 2011


The January 1973 peace accords did not end the Vietnam war, just American involvement in it. The war between North Vietnam and South Vietnam continued until 1975 when the North defeated the South and Saigon was overrun. Some Marine guards at the US embassy in Saigon died at that time during the evacuation of the US personnel there.
posted by wadefranklin at 3:00 PM on May 30, 2011


While some Americans can't quite get around the fact that their country isn't the centre of all history, the Vietnam War (aka the American war) ended on 30 April 1975, with the Battle for Saigon. Meanwhile, the US military recognises the Mayaguez Incident (May 1975) as part of the Vietnam War.

There were approximately 1 million north vietnamese military casualties. There were maybe two million vietnamese civilian casualties. Laotian farmers still lose limbs and lives every day, despite never being declared war on.
posted by wilful at 8:13 PM on May 30, 2011


What passes for history is better captured by the essential truth that cannot be fabricated for the purpose of edifying glory. It is the the ugly truth of individual lives crushed that history forgets, or never bothered to know. History is all that you do not know at all.

History, with pitifully late observations, is a mirror to silence, a dark matter theory for your intellectual senses. War is indeed hell, and it lives in our plagiarized imaginations.
posted by thebestusernameever at 8:15 PM on May 30, 2011


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