Remembrance: Viet Nam

Written by Harold McNeill on September 11th, 2011. Posted in Editorials


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Remembrance: Viet Nam

By the time the Viet Nam war came to an unceremonious close in 1975, over 58,000 United States Military men and women had been killed. More than three times that number had been badly wounded and to this day many of the veterans and their families carry the scars of that terrible conflict. The number of families torn asunder is almost beyond count.

Many citizens of Canada and other countries, who served in that war, were also killed or wounded. The wounds of that conflict remain as a clear within our family as my step-son’s father was one of those casualties. When he returned from the war all seemed OK, but it was not many months later the deep scars left behind from Viet Nam, began to show and the young man’s zest for life began to ebb away to a point where even his family could not reach him.  His wife and young son were encouraged to return to Canada from Iowa were living at the time.  That so many young men who returned from Viet Nam were cast aside by their own country after they had given so much, is a scar that has yet to heal.  (Link to Twenty-First Chromosome to read about the child of that union)

In the United States, neither the President nor Congress wanted any reminders of those dark days of US foreign policy as that would be of no political, ideological or commercial value. Viet Nam Veterans and families of the dead and wounded fought for decades to gain some recognition for the sacrifices made and for the lasting injuries inflicted. In the years following the conflict, the US Government made no plans for a public memorial or for any remembrance celebrations. Mass media likewise remained largely silent.

It was not until 1978 that a Hollywood movie, The Deer Hunter, became an enormous hit, and public sentiment slowly begin to shift. Following the movie, a wounded Viet Nam Vet, Corporal Jan Scruggs, started a campaign to have a memorial built in remembrance of all those lost their live in the war. In the months and years following and after donating $2800 of his own money, Corporal Scruggs traveled the country and managed to raise $8,500,000 in public donations.

After much conflict and foot dragging by the US Government, the Viet Nam War Veterans memorial was built in Washington, DC.  It stands today as the only major memorial to all those killed in action. Only recently have others have since been built in individual States.  For those of you who have any recollection of that war or the aftermath, can you remember a time when the Governments of the United States, Canada or any other country ever made more than cursory mention of the heavy price paid by those hundreds of thousands military personnel and their families? They and their families served their countries well and were then forgotten. Herein lies the message: Least We Forget.

Harold McNeill

Link to Black Friday in Norway:  A Story Valour about one young man from British Columbia who flew off to war.

Link to an Amazing Coincidence Seventy years after a photo of the RCAF 404 Squadron was taken, only three men still survived. Take a look at the photo see the amazing coincidence.

Link to Remembrance Day 2012  (with photo of Lynn’s Dad and Mom at their wedding, in England, just before Lynn’s Dad left for the front in Italy).

A Pittance of Time (For Video Link Here)

 

(1963)

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Comments

  • Mike Fedorowich

    September 1, 2023 |

    I have gone through the above noted text and have found it quite informative.
    I am a former member with several law enforcement agencies from across Canada.
    I worked in the First Nations service under the authority of the RCMP with the over sight of the OPP. My law enforcement service was conducted under the authority of the Nishnawbe – Aski Police Service in North West Ontario the Louis Bull Police Sevice in Hobbema AB, the Kitasoo Xaixais Police Service in Northern in side passage on Swindle Island, the Lac Suel Police Service North West Ontario and the Vancouver Transit Authority Sky Train Police Service. I’m presently dealing with an RCMP member for falsifying a report against me for a road rage event. Court case is finished and the charge was dropped but I have an on going complaint with the member and have forwarded to the WATCH DOGS IN OTTAWA FOR the RCMP review and consideration. I believe the said officer is in violation of his oath of office and should be held accountable for falsifying his RTCC all the while dragging me through the court system here in Nanaimo. RCMP continue to stonewall the appeal but Ottawa and the crowns office are still looking into the matter. if your able and find the time or the interest in this very brief introduction, I would very much like to speak with you and would be grateful to hear any wisdom that may come across from your end. I served with First Nations Police Services for ten years in isolation and six years with Transit Police out of New West Minster. I do value and appreciate any time you could spare to chat for a bit on this particular subject matter. Respectfully with out anger but an open mind, Mike Fedorowich Nanaimo BC 250 667 0060

  • Harold McNeill

    February 28, 2022 |

    Hi Robert, I do remember some of those folks from my early years in Cold Lake (Hazel was my aunt and our family spent many fond times with Uncle Melvin, Aunt Hazel and Family. I knew Lawrence and Adrian. Having read a half dozen accounts it is clear their were many false narratives and, perhaps, a few truths along the way. I tried my best to provide an even account from what I read. Cheers, Harold. (email: Harold@mcneillifestories.com)

  • Robert Martineau

    February 25, 2022 |

    Its been a long time since any post here, but its worth a shot. My Grandfather was Hazel Wheelers brother Lawrence, and son to Maggie and Adrien. Maggie Martineau (nee Delaney) is my great grandmother. The books and articles to date are based on the white mans viewpoint and the real story as passed down by the Elders in my family is much more nefarious. Some of the white men were providing food for the Indians in exchange for sexual favors performed by the Squaws. Maggie was the product of one of those encounters. Although I am extremely proud of my family and family name, I am ashamed about this part of it.

  • Julue

    January 28, 2022 |

    Good morning Harold!
    Gosh darn it, you are such a good writer. I hope you have been writing a book about your life. It could be turned into a movie.
    Thanks for this edition to your blog.
    I pray that Canadians will keep their cool this weekend and next week in Ottawa. How do you see our PM handling it? He has to do something and quick!
    Xo Julie

  • Herb Craig

    December 14, 2021 |

    As always awesome job Harold. It seems whatever you do in life the end result is always the same professional, accurate, inclusive and entertaining. You have always been a class act and a great fellow policeman to work with. We had some awesome times together my friend. I will always hold you close as a true friend. Keep up the good work. Hope to see you this summer.
    Warm regards
    Herb Craig

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Hi Dorthy, So glad you found those stories and, yes, they hold many fond memories. Thanks to social media and the blog, I’ve been able to get in touch with many friends from back in the day. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Well, well. Pleased to see your name pop up. I’m in regular contact via FB with many ‘kids’ from back in our HS days (Guy, Dawna, Shirley and others). Also, a lot of Cold Lake friends through FB. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Oh, that is many years back and glad you found the story. I don’t have any recall of others in my class other than the Murphy sisters on whose farm my Dad and Mom worked.

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Pleased to hear from you Howie and trust all is going well. As with you, I have a couple of sad stories of times in my police career when I crossed paths with Ross Barrington Elworthy. Just haven’t had the time to write those stories.

  • Howie Siegel

    November 25, 2021 |

    My only fight at Pagliacci’s was a late Sunday night in 1980 (?) He ripped the towel machine off the bathroom wall which brought me running. He came after me, I grabbed a chair and cracked him on the head which split his skull and dropped him. I worried about the police finding him on the floor. I had just arrived from Lasqueti Island and wasn’t convinced the police were my friends. I dragged him out to Broad and Fort and left him on the sidewalk, called the cops. They picked him up and he never saw freedom again (as far as I know). I found out it was Ross Elworthy.