Letter: Don’t betray Vietnam veterans

First Posted: 4/30/2014

Memorial Day is nearing once again - a time Americans have officially set aside to stop and think about the sacrifice so many have made to protect our rights and our freedoms in this great country.

Let me take this opportunity to remind all Americans that grave questions linger about the fate of American soldiers reported to have remained in captivity after President Nixon declared on March 29, 1973, that all living American prisoners of war had been freed form Vietnam. As far back as the early 1990s investigative reporter Sydney Schanberg began looking into discrepancies between statistics presented by Washington and those provided by independent sources, stating that as many as 244, and possibly far more, American soldiers remained in captivity and/or unaccounted for after the official peace agreement was signed. He uncovered mounds of information that the press and members of congress ignored.

President after president since Nixon have worked to dismiss the facts that have surfaced about these missing prisoners. Sen. John Kerry and Sen. John McCain, both Vietnam veterans, have also been accused of suppressing testimony that points to live soldiers not being returned to America. An abundance of evidence shows that soldiers were held back by Hanoi, as potential bargaining chips for future reparations from the United States. Reparations were never provided, and soldiers remained in Vietnam.

As a Vietnam veteran myself, I am sickened by the thought of those men being betrayed in such a horrendous way by the very nation they swore to protect. This continual cover-up to save face is a tragedy for the soldiers who were abandoned and the families who have lost all hope of their return.

On this Memorial Day, do the one thing that can truly honor the Vietnam Veterans who have been forgotten and ignored by their country: Do your won research and demand that your federal government representative address the discrepancies and re-open their files and the investigation into our missing servicemen. We owe it to them. And to their families.

— Tim Britsch, Cloverdale

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