Vietnam Veterans Essay

324 WordsNov 20, 20122 Pages
The Rochester native served his country during the Vietnam War, fighting in the infamous Battle of Khe Sanh as a member of the 5th Marine Division, 26th Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Echo Company. He received three Purple Hearts for various non-life-threatening injuries. And when he came home in 1969, he shut up about it all. “You didn’t even want to wear your uniform home,” said Macaluso, 65, of Greece. “In the airports, they used to have these groups, anti-war people, and the least hassle was just not to wear the uniform.” Other vets, meanwhile, “weren’t backing Vietnam veterans because they said we lost the war,” Macaluso said. “There were a number of (veterans’) organizations that wouldn’t let Vietnam vets join because they said it wasn’t a real war. “So you just didn’t say much, just kept everything inside.” Thomas DeMond Sr., who was drafted in 1970, ended up serving with the Army’s 18th Military Police Brigade and was based out of the Long Bihn base. “When I got home, I got told ‘take that uniform, throw it away.’ The attitude was forget about it,” said DeMond, today a retired Rochester School District teacher and commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9251 Pennington-Moye. “Vietnam wasn’t a popular war.” The Vietnam War — which polarized and traumatized American society, even as it claimed 58,000 American lives — arguably kicked off 50 years ago this year with Operation Chopper, as Army-flown helicopters took South Vietnamese soldiers to fight near Saigon. That marked United States’s first combat missions against the Vietcong. The first American combat troops would arrive three years later. And by 1975, when the last Americans pulled out of Vietnam, an estimated 28,000 Rochesterians had served there, and 280 were killed or went missing. Today, Vietnam veterans are applauded when they march in local parades. Their sacrifice is immortalized at the

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