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No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now.
Richard M. Nixon
During the Cold War, America undertook serious military cuts only once: after the election of Richard Nixon, during the Vietnam War. The result: Vietnam fell to the Communists, the Russians moved into Afghanistan, and American influence around the globe waned dramatically.
I covered the Vietnam War. I remember the lies that were told, the lives that were lost - and the shock when, twenty years after the war ended, former Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara admitted he knew it was a mistake all along.
I saw courage both in the Vietnam War and in the struggle to stop it. I learned that patriotism includes protest, not just military service.
John F. Kerry
America lost its face with the debacle of the Vietnam War.
I got my head bashed in at a demonstration against the Vietnam War. Police were losing control because they were up against a world they really didn't understand.
The Vietnam War was a great tragedy for our country. And it is now far enough away so that one can study without using the slogans to see what's really happened.
When I grew up, in Taiwan, the Korean War was seen as a good war, where America protected Asia. It was sort of an extension of World War II. And it was, of course, the peak of the Cold War. People in Taiwan were generally proAmerican. The Korean War made Japan. And then the Vietnam War made Taiwan. There is some truth to that.
I deliberately did not read anything about the Vietnam War because I felt the politics of the war eclipsed what happened to the veterans. The politics were irrelevant to what this memorial was.
One of the lessons learned during the Vietnam War was that the depiction of wounded soldiers, of coffins stacked higher than their living guards, had a negative effect on the viewing public. The military in Iraq specifically banned the photographing of wounded soldiers and coffins, thus sanitizing this terrible and bloody conflict.
Walter Dean Myers
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The Vietnam War totally turned my life around. Some people's lives were eliminated or destroyed by the experience. I was one of the fortunate few who came out better off.
I thought the Vietnam war was an utter, unmitigated disaster, so it was very hard for me to say anything good about it.
I was terrified of the Vietnam War when I was 13. I thought I was going. The draft was such an ominous thing, I felt as if it was going to trickle down to me.
One of the things I am most proud of is refusing to serve in the military when drafted during the Vietnam War.
I had a very strong feeling about the Vietnam War, and I had a strong feeling about participating in it. The military draft was in place, I was summoned for a physical exam, and I was either going to be classified as fit for military service or make my objection to it. So I made my objection to it.
Although one of the key justifications for the Vietnam war was to prevent the spread of communism, the U.S. defeat was to produce nothing of the kind: apart from the fact that Cambodia and Laos became embroiled, the effects were essentially confined to Vietnam.
I'm not going to say I was opposed to the Vietnam War. I'm going to say I'm opposed to war. But I'm also opposed to protests that deny other people their rights.
The Vietnam War required us to emphasize the national interest rather than abstract principles. What President Nixon and I tried to do was unnatural. And that is why we didn't make it.
The impact of the Vietnam War on TV made everyone recognize the importance of visual media.
In 1968, America was a wounded nation. The wounds were moral ones; the Vietnam War and three summers of inner-city riots had inflicted them on the national soul, challenging Americans' belief that they were a uniquely noble and honorable people.
What is astonishing about the social history of the Vietnam war is not how many people avoided it, but how many could not and did not.
John Gregory Dunne
Before the Civil War, Canada was at the top of the underground railroad. If you made it into Canada, you were safe unless someone came and hauled you back. That was also true during the Vietnam War for draft resisters.
My mom is a nurse; my dad is a pediatrician. They were born in the 1940s, and they were both inspired to fight against injustice, whether it was the injustices of the Vietnam War or Watergate or children in poverty or oppression of African Americans in Philadelphia where I was growing up.
Hollywood never knew there was a Vietnam War until they made the movie.
Anyone graduating from medical school in 1966 had first to fulfill military service before launching a career. Fiercely opposed to the Vietnam War, I sought to avoid it through an assignment to the Public Health Service.
Harold E. Varmus
The Vietnam War soured President Johnson's legacy. We still have to recognize his domestic legacy.
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