One of the myriad untruths about the Vietnam War concerns the role of Canada, our friend and neighbor to the north. It is generally seen only that Canada provided refuge to Americans who opposed serving in the Armed Forces and fled north to avoid being drafted.
You'll note that I said these were people who "opposed serving in the Armed Forces." The reason I made that point is that during the Vietnam war years, from the early adviser days in 1961, to the evacuation of the American Embassy in April 1975, about 9 million Americans served in the military.
But only about 2.5 million or slightly more than 22 percent, actually served in Vietnam itself. Even if you count all the offshore personnel, and theater personnel, such as those serving in Thailand, that number barely reaches 3 million or 33 percent.
So if you were a smart person, and we have to consider that since most of these draft evaders learned the ropes in college, which according to John Kerry automatically makes them smarter by far than anyone who joined the military, you would have realized that the odds were heavily against serving in Vietnam even if you did serve in the military.
And, unlike WWII, where 70 percent of those who served were drafted, in Vietnam, nearly 70 percent of those who served volunteered. So the odds were heavily in favor of not going to Vietnam even if you were in the service.
Further, if you are a smart person, as virtually anyone who has ever spent even a nanosecond in college must be, you know that if you enlist, instead of waiting to being drafted, you have a wide range of job choices and duty stations, the overwhelming majority of which in that time would not have included service in Vietnam.
So, during the Vietnam era thousands of college kids who didn't want to serve in the military fled to Canada. It sounded noble and intellectual to say they didn't want to participate in an "illegal and immoral war" but the truth is, they probably wouldn't have been sent to Vietnam anyway, so we must conclude that they just didn't want to serve period.
But, what rarely gets mentioned, especially in the American Terrorist Media, is that thousands of Canadian citizens also headed south specifically to enlist in the armed forces of the United States, specifically to serve in Vietnam.
That is anyone's guess. I have done some research, which reveals that no one seems to know definitively. There does seem to be agreement among the Canadian Vietnam veterans themselves that somewhere between 15,000 and 25,000 is a reasonable estimate.
How many Americans fled north? Again, that is a question that is open to interpretation. I have seen some research that says 10,000 but I have seen other opinions that say as many as 125,000.
That last number seems to be more than a bit of a stretch because it includes anyone who moved to Canada from 1961, four years before the US ramped up to major involvement in Vietnam, until 1977, six years after the US ended major combat operations, four years after the draft ended in 1973, and two years after Saigon fell to the communists in 1975. So at least eight years of that span are questionable as to motive.
Regardless, the fact is that thousands of our Canadian neighbors came south to help us and they got little to no recognition for it. I think that should change, and a Gathering of Eagles, the movement to protect the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC from vandalism on March 17 provides that opportunity.
I received an email a few days ago from a Canadian lady, an Air Force veteran who is coming down to DC with an Army veteran specifically "to defend the names of the Canadians on that wall." She noted that there are others who want to attend also. It is my hope that they again come south in large numbers as they did 40 years ago, and I can assure my brother and sister veterans from Canada that they will be well received.
Since I last wrote about A Gathering of Eagles, it has gained incredible strength. It started out as a few emails between veterans who were appalled that the Capitol police were ordered to allow anarchists attending a Jane Fonda headlined anti-war protest in January to vandalize the Capitol. The writers feared that something similar would occur during another planned anti-war protest on March 17 that is forming up right next to the Vietnam Memorial.
Those emails then escalated to postings on veteran or military oriented web sites, and that got things really moving. I heard about it on the www.TogetherWeServed.com website, before it actually got the name Gathering of Eagles, and after writing about it here, got notices from all over the country that like-minded people were getting involved and making plans to be in DC on March 17.
Organizers are concerned that the planned anti-war march on the Pentagon, which is billed as an anniversary celebration of a similar march 40 years ago, includes in its list of participants anti-American and pro-terrorist individuals and organizations, some of whom they fear would have no problem defacing the memorial.
But the numbers who would oppose any such vandalism are growing. In recent days members of the Rolling Thunder motorcycle riders who make an annual pilgrimage to The Wall on Memorial Day have signed on as supporters, as have the Patriot Guard Riders, National Order of the Purple Heart, various POW organizations, and veterans' groups and individuals representing all services from all eras.
In addition, a caravan of Gold Star and Blue Star mothers, representing those who have sons and daughters killed in action while serving our country, or those currently serving, will be making its way across the US to arrive in DC in time for the vigil at The Wall.
Please note that once again I have used the word vigil. I suggested to my brother and sister Marines at TWS that we not portray this as a counter-protest or opposition to the rights of the pro-terrorist marchers, but as a vigil to protect the honor and memories of our fallen brothers and sisters. The official web site for the vigil http://www.gatheringofeagles.org/ also makes that point very strongly.
In fact the website clearly states that the reason for this vigil is "To stand silent guard over our nation's memorials, in honor of our fallen, and in solidarity with our armed forces in harm's way today."
I make this point for a number of reasons, but foremost is that we have to expect less than favorable press coverage from today's pro-terrorist media, similar to the unfavorable and outright false press coverage we received in the 60s and 70s from the pro-communist media.
When the TWS Marines first started organizing I produced a news release for them, which Michael London, my boss at the Michael J. London & Associates PR firm, distributed gratis to well over a hundred national and international news outlets that cover Washington, DC.
At first the release was all but ignored by the American Terrorist Media, but one of the people listed as a contact for further information did get a call, from ITAR-Tass, the Russian news agency! And by all accounts he had a really good interview!
Just goes to show you.
However, on February 20 a representative from the Gold Star/Blue Star mothers was interviewed at length on Fox News, and a Gathering of Eagles also was mentioned on the Rush Limbaugh radio show Monday, February 19.
So word is spreading, the news is getting out and it now is up to America's veterans, in conjunction with our brothers and sisters from Canada, and any other country whose citizen's served with us, to go to Washington, defend our memorials, and show the world who really represents the heart of America.
It is a big job, and we are under extreme pressure to do it right. But that really doesn't faze most of us. We are the ones who stood up for America and freedom in the first place. Doing it again isn't really a matter of starting out on a new venture, as much as continuing to march on an objective that has been before us throughout our entire lives.
I'll see you in DC on the March 17. You can bet that for at least some of that time I'll be standing shoulder to shoulder with my brothers and sisters from Canada.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007