Photo by Edward F. Palm)

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Forest, Virginia, United States
A long time ago, my sophomore English teacher, Father William Campbell, saw something in my writing and predicted that I would someday become a newspaper columnist. He suggested the perfect title for my column--"Leaves of the Palm." Now that I have a little extra time on my hands I've decided to put Father Campbell's prediction to the test. I'm going to start using this blog site not just to reprint opinion pieces I've published elsewhere but to try to get more of my ideas and opinions out there. Feedback is welcome. To find out more about me, please check out my Web site: www.EdwardFPalm.com (Click on any of the photos below for an enlarged view.)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Remembering April 30, 1975

[The former Presidential Palace of South Vietnam, July, 2002]
It just occurred to me that today is a sad anniversary.  It was 35 years ago today that North Vietnamese tanks crashed through the gates of South Vietnam’s Presidential Palace.  (Bill Cooke and I visited it in 2002.  It’s now a museum.)  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not mooning over what might have been in terms of a U. S./South Vietnamese victory.   I came to understand that it was indeed the original “wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time.”  Still, it was sad to watch how it ended and to think of all the lives lost and the time and money wasted, not to mention the way we deserted the Vietnamese we had encouraged to depend on us. 
       Ironically, I was a newly commissioned second lieutenant going through the Basic School when Saigon fell.  That same week, the C.O. of the Basic School summoned us all to a  farewell reception for the ten South Vietnamese officers who were going through the program with us.  They had suddenly become men without a country, and the State Department was sending them somewhere.  (I know not where.)  I remember our C.O. saying something about honoring them as allies and wishing them well.  But it was anything but a smooth speech, and it was an awkward occasion—to say the least. 
       I wonder sometimes:  What America be like today had our leaders had the foresight not to get involved in Vietnam? --EFP

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That was a beautiful building we built for the South Vietnam governmemt. It is a great well kept museum now. The 2 Russian tanks that broke down the gates are also parked on the grounds. Vietnam a trip of a life time and would like to return there again to see more of the country. Sarge