America won the war against communism
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My favorite teacher was Dr. Wilma Felger. She taught History of Western Civilization at Victoria College.
She got me started, and I've had a passion for the history of western civilization for more than 50 years.
As an American citizen, I am deeply honored to be here and especially to pay my respects to those who served in the Vietnam War.
I have been asked to share my take on some history involving war.
My father was born in 1903, and my mother in 1905. They personally knew veterans from the Civil War, the Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
Looking back, war in our history is a natural state - we are either getting ready for war, in a war or recovering from war.
During WWII, at the same time we were fighting the Germans, we acquired a new but mostly unacknowledged enemy - Joseph Stalin's Russia - also known as the Soviet Union.
During and right after the Germans were being defeated, the Soviet Union acquired Poland, Hungry, Romania, Czechoslovakia, about half of Germany, part of Korea and about half-a-dozen smaller countries.
War in the second half of the last century was sometimes called the Cold War. But sometimes it was not cold. The war was fought in many ways and in many places.
There was the Berlin Wall and the communist-inspired revolution in Greece. There were serious Communist Party efforts in Italy, France and many other countries all over the world. We had the Korean War, a real war that in a way is still going on, and later, the Cuban Missile Crisis. We were and still are deeply involved in the Middle East. Russian arms started showing up in sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South America, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and all of Vietnam.
We fought the war with both sides aiming deadly missiles at each other. Those missiles, with their warheads, were aimed at cities.
Our efforts to put a man on the moon was for science, but it was also for show, and it was also part of the Cold War.
Sometimes we were at war on our own college campuses.
I know you all remember the treason committed by Hanoi Jane Fonda. There is no way to estimate the number of American lives she and others like her cost our country.
In politics, you hear people say, "If you want to know what is happening, follow the money!"
In war, if you want to know who your enemy is, don't ask who's pulling the trigger. Instead, ask who made the bullets.
You won't hear me call the Vietnam War a conflict, it was a war. I contend it was war - and a very hot war!
But it was so much more. It was part of the largest ideological clash to ever take place between the two then-superpowers of the world.
North Vietnam was a poor country. It had virtually no money, it had no credit and it had no war manufacturing ability. And yet, it had SAM missiles and plenty of other tools for killing. The Cold War was both hot and cold.
My theory is that in history books in about 100 years from now, all of these hostilities that took place over the last half of the last century will be called "the War and Defeat of the Communist Soviet Union."
And the reasons I thinks this is that in every incidence on every continent, our enemy was aided and abetted directly or indirectly by the Soviet Union - the communists!
And the Vietnam War - the war you fought - was part of the 50-year war. It was a part of the Cold War - a very hot part of the Cold War.
It is nice to know that the Soviet Union finally got their Vietnam in Afghanistan when we introduced the stinger missiles.
Yes, we have had our ups and downs. If you accept my theory and prediction that 100 years from now history will read that we had a global war with the Soviet Union that lasted about 50 years, if you accept my theory, it should help you to know that you won - the United States of America won - YOU WON!
You, the Vietnam War veterans, played a big part of the most global war the world has known.
Your efforts should never be forgotten. You were on the winning side. Thank you!
Today and always, we give special recognition and thanks to all veterans and their families and especially you, the veterans of the Vietnam War, for your defense of our way of life. That is why we are here today.
Will Armstrong is the mayor of Victoria. This is the text of his speech given to the Vietnam veterans after the Parade that Never Was. Contact Armstrong with questions or comments at 361-550-4245 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.