Best 84 of Vietnam war quotes - MyQuotes
A. S. King
No one has proved to me that my husband isn’t still alive somewhere in Southeast Asia. So, as far as I’m concerned, if even one man is alive, we own him more than this – than presuming him dead for the sake of tidying paperwork.
I believe war should be the last result, but I do believe that when we find ourselves at war, we should unite as a people and not do anything to aid or encourage the enemy. We should stay the course and remember that the people we are defending, though they may not always be Americans, are people dependent upon us to see the conflict through to an end.
I left Hairball to his manic mantric singing. I walked toward the house and stopped to rub some white pine needles on my fingers. The evergreen smelled fresh and alive. The needles were long and soft to the touch. I looked back at Hairball. The moon had risen higher and Little Meadow was even brighter. The wind picked up Hairball’s singing and blew it away. By the time I got up to the house he had become a silvery ghost dancing in the moonlight, a nowhere man longing to live on the moon.
Your own politicians make our Dr. Goebbels look like a child playing with picture books in a kindergarten. They speak of morality while they douse screaming children and old women in burning napalm. Your draft-resisters are called cowards and ‘peaceniks.’ For refusing to follow orders they are either put in jails or scourged from the country. Those who demonstrate against this country's unfortunate Asian adventure are clubbed down in the streets. The GI soldiers who kill the innocent are decorated by Presidents, welcomed home from the bayoneting of children and the burning of hospitals with parades and bunting. They are given dinners, Keys to the City, free tickets to pro football games.” He toasted his glass in Todd's direction. “Only those who lose are tried as war criminals for following orders and directives.
As modern neurobiologists point out, the repetition of the traumatic experience in the flashbacks can be itself re-traumatizing; if not life-threatening, it is at least threatening to the chemical structure of the brain and can ultimately lead to deterioration. And this would also seem to explain the high suicide rate of survivor, for example, survivors of Vietnam.
Because we never got out. We never got out of the green. Our generation died there.
The incident plaguing him on this very night, did not have any relation to the jungles, the killing fields, the faces of villagers and the Vietcong, nor the hours of trekking through the mud, to destinations never revealed over the radios.
He says when you're smoking a cigarette with someone, and you have a lighter, you should light their cigarette first. But if you have matches, you should light your cigarette first, so you breathe in the 'harmful sulfur' instead of them. He says it's the polite thing to do. He also says it's bad luck to have "three on a match." He heard that from his uncle who fought in Vietnam. Something about how three cigarettes was enough time for the enemy to know where you are. Bob says that when you're alone, and you light a cigarette, and the cigarette is only halfway lit that means someone is thinking about you.
Each day of war takes us farther from all we could hope to be or do. We gain nothing but heartbreak, and lose everything we cherish. Our lives erode and diminish, our children see no future except a calendar of anguish and death. Our only hope for tomorrow is for peace now.
T. Colin Campbell
Much of my early career was spent working with two of the most toxic chemicals ever discovered, dioxin and aflatoxin. I initially worked at MIT, where I was assigned a chicken feed puzzle. Millions of chicks a year were dying from an unknown toxic chemical in their feed, and I had the responsibility of isolating and determining the structure of this chemical. After two and a half years, I helped discover dioxin, arguably the most toxic chemical ever found. This chemical has since received widespread attention, especially because it was part of the herbicide 2,4,5-T, or Agent Orange, then being used to defoliate forests in the Vietnam War." T.Colin Campbell
As his boots walked towards the old station, he felt as though he were hallucinating. Scary apprehension increased the beat of his heart and the sweat upon his forehead was cold. The reality of where he stood created a sinking feeling inside of him. An old man everyone called Uncle Tucker once owned this place. His sole existence behind the counter all of the time, day and night. He could have been a creature out of a fairy tale, with his long white beard and equally long white hair. Merlin. The overalls and the ball cap perched upon his head, along with the half-smoked cigar with an endless burning orb positioned in his mouth. It made him a fixture in time. He wondered if Tucker would still be alive. Tucker with his endless stories of the 1960s, the Vietnam War, and flower children. A man that never left a country thousands of miles away where bicycles filled the capital. A man who never left those fields where killing occurred.
It’s not that I had more important things to do or that I didn’t want to help with whatever problems were interfering with her students being successful—rather, it’s this horrible truth that life has taught me: misplaced hope is the most devastatingly painful thing you can give someone.
The heat of a million suns shimmered from the ground and bounced off the triple canopy that loomed above and created undulating waves, that blurred a man’s vision. Knap, looking like a ghost weaved his way forward through the rays of heat.
But to a Vietnamese peasant whose home means a lifetime of back-breaking labor, it will take more than presidential promises to convince him that we are on his side.
He had not understood that we were combat photographers, and our jobs were as relevant and justifiable—or as irrelevant and unjustifiable—as anyone’s in Vietnam.
I looked at the two enemy prisoners. They were on their stomachs, face down and shaking like everything. I can only imagine the fear they must have felt in their hearts. Thank God we had air superiority on the battlefield.
The idea that we must choose between the method of "winning hearts and minds" and the method of shaping behavior presumes that we have the right to choose at all. This is to grant us a right that we would surely accord to no other power. Yet the overwhelming body of American scholarship accords us this right.
The whole experience ought to have (but has not) taught Americans to cultivate deep regional knowledge in the practice of foreign policy, and to avoid being led by ideology instead of understanding. The United States should interact with other nations realistically, not on the basis of domestic political priorities. Very often the problems in distant lands have little or nothing to do with America's ideological preoccupations. Beware of men with theories that explain everything. Trust those who approach the world with humility and cautious insight.
I have to keep my mouth shut about Nam though. All of these guys want to believe they were fighting an honorable war, and that their conduct deserves respect. They want the public to treat them like they’re heroes—like the WWII vets were.” “Instead, smart ass, pampered kids call them names and throw dog shit at them.
They say in death our war is over. I don't believe that.
The next morning re-supply choppers brought mail, supplies, and Christmas stockings that had been packed by young school kids. Each stocking contained lots of candy and a letter. We took turns passing the letters around. Tex’s parents had sent him a small, artificial Christmas tree. We set it up on the top of our foxhole and decorated it with white shaving cream from our sundry supplies. The shaving cream looked like snow.
I mean, remember what the Vietnam War was fought for, after all. The Vietnam War was fought to prevent Vietnam from becoming a successful model of economic and social development for the Third World. And we don't want to lose the war, Washington doesn't want to lose the war. So far we've won: Vietnam is no model for development, it's a model for destruction. But if the Vietnamese could ever pull themselves together somehow, Vietnam could again become such a model―and that's no good, we always have to prevent that.
From 1964 to 1972, the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the history of the world made a maximum military effort, with everything short of atomic bombs, to defeat a nationalist revolutionary movement in a tiny, peasant country-and failed. When the United States fought in Vietnam, it was organized modern technology versus organized human beings, and the human beings won.
You have left too much of yourself in this land for it not to be yours. I, too, will always be yours, for you have left too much of yourself with me for it to be otherwise.
In America, it is reported by some sources that there were more domestic violence related murders in the home than the 58,000 Americans soldiers killed in the entire Vietnam War
Captain Hank Bracker
The United States became engaged in hostilities with North Vietnam on November 1, 1955, when President Eisenhower deployed the Military Assistance Advisory Group as advisors to train the army of South Vietnam, better known as the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. Things escalated in 1960, which was about the same time that Cuba established diplomatic relations with Vietnam, the communist country at war with the United States. In May of 1961 President Kennedy sent 400 United States Army Special Forces personnel to South Vietnam for the purpose of training South Vietnamese troops. By November of 1963 when he was killed, President Kennedy had increased the number of military personnel from the original 400 to 900 troops for training purposes. Direct U.S. intervention started with the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in August of 1964. As things heated up, the number of American troops started including combat units and escalated to 16,000 troops, just before Kennedy’s death. During the early hours of April 30, 1975, the fighting ended abruptly, as South Vietnamese President Duong Van Minh delivered an unconditional surrender to the Communists. Between 195,000 to 430,000 South Vietnamese civilians died in the war and 50,000 to 65,000 North Vietnamese civilians died. The Army of the Republic of Vietnam lost somewhere between 171,331 and 220,357 men during the war. The Communist military forces lost approximately 444,000 men. It is estimated that between 200,000 and 300,000 Cambodians died and another 60,000 Laotians died during this war. In all 58,220 U.S. service members were killed. The last two American servicemen to die in Vietnam were killed during the evacuation of Saigon, when their helicopter crashed. After the United States pulled out of South Vietnam, the two sections of the country came together under Communist rule. Vietnam has since become Cuba’s largest trading partner next to China, and the United States has also returned to a normalized trade relationship with Vietnam.
William L. Shirer
We could see in our own country as late as the 1960's and 1970's how good Christian and Jewish men, the pillars of our society, when they acceded to political and military power, could sit calmly and cooly in their air-conditioned offices in Washington and cold-bloodedly, without a qualm or a moral quiver, plan and order the massacre of hundred of thousands of men, women and children and the destruction of their homes, farms, churches, schools and hospitals in a faraway Asian land of poor peasants who had never threatened us in the slightest, who were incapable of it. Almost as savage was the acceptance by most of us citizens of such barbarism, until, toward the end, our slumbering - or should one say, cowardly? - consciences were aroused.
K [Kissinger] called from New York all disturbed because he felt someone had been getting to the P [President] on Vietnam... Henry's concerned that the P's looking for a way to bug out and he thinks that would be a disaster now.
Dear Bill, I came to this black wall again, to see and touch your name. William R. Stocks. And as I do, I wonder if anyone ever stops to realize that next to your name, on this black wall, is your mother's heart. A heart broken fifteen years ago today, when you lost your life in Vietnam. And as I look at your name, I think of how many, many times I used to wonder how scared and homesick you must have been, in that strange country called Vietnam. And if and how it might have changed you, for you were the most happy-go-lucky kid in the world, hardly ever sad or unhappy. And until the day I die, I will see you as you laughed at me, even when I was very mad at you. And the next thing I knew, we were laughing together. But on this past New Year's Day, I talked by phone to a friend of yours from Michigan, who spent your last Christmas and the last four months of your life with you. Jim told me how you died, for he was there and saw the helicopter crash. He told me how your jobs were like sitting ducks; they would send you men out to draw the enemy into the open, and then, they would send in the big guns and planes to take over. He told me how after a while over there, instead of a yellow streak, the men got a mean streak down their backs. Each day the streak got bigger, and the men became meaner. Everyone but you, Bill. He said how you stayed the same happy-go-lucky guy that you were when you arrived in Vietnam. And he said how you, of all people, should never have been the one to die. How lucky you were to have him for a friend. And how lucky he was to have had you. They tell me the letters I write to you and leave here at this memorial are waking others up to the fact that there is still much pain left from the Vietnam War. But this I know; I would rather to have had you for twenty-one years and all the pain that goes with losing you, than never to have had you at all. -Mom
A. S. King
I guess it was hard for him to look at the logic behind the draft lotteries, because that same logic had taken away his father. And, anyway, what’s so logical about the day you were born deciding when you might die? That’s just a cruel joke, as I see it.
According to historian Ellen Hammer, he (Pres. Kennedy) was, 'shaken and depressed.' to realize that, 'the first Catholic ever to become a Vietnamese chief of state was dead, assassinated as a direct result of a policy authorized by the first American Catholic president.' At one point an aide tried to console him by reminding him that Diem and Nhu had been tyrants. 'No," he replied. "They were in a difficult position.' They did the best they could for their country.
Combat is fast, unfair, cruel, and dirty. It is meant to be that way so that the terrible experience is branded into the memory of those who are fortunate enough to survive. It is up to those survivors to ensure that the experience is recorded and passed along to those who just might want to try it.
This is how I see humanity. When enemies come to your country, destroy the countryside and your village, kill your countrymen, your comrades and the defenseless wounded, you have to kill them and defend your compatriots; that is true humanity.
It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.
And if this girl, Mai, is half the woman the U.S. Marines seem think she is ... I am damned sure not going to get in her way.
A. K. Kuykendall
Like walking into the darkness our soldier’s went, their lives like cash haphazardly spent. Vietnam was a conflict that was no more than an experiment aimed at humanity's scientific evolvement.
He was telling war stories. The funny, innocuous ones that made everyone forget that war could leave you without fingers, or legs, or a soul.
For all those who shared their stories - and for those with stories yet to be told.
An equation: 40,000 dead young men = 3,000 tons of bone and flesh, 124,000 pounds of brain matter, 50,000 gallons of blood, 1,840,000 years of life that will never be lived, 100,000 children that will never be born (the last we can afford: there are too many starving children in the world already).
The fear syndrome [a species of propaganda], by exaggerating Vietcong power for destruction, misplaces the real pain of the real war, and is immensely dangerous. It leads to hysteria, to hawk-demands for a bigger war; it pushes us nearer and nearer to World War Three. The fear syndrome in no way serves the American cause; it can only jeopardize more American lives, with the ultimate risk of jeopardizing all life.
They were at the wrong place at the wrong time naturally they became heroes
Yea though I walk through the Valley of the shadow of Death, I shall fear no evil...because I am the meanest motherfucker in the Valley.
The thing about fear that no one tells you is that it's like the cup in the myth of Thor: you can drink and drink and you will never be done. Fastidiously, steadily, without consciousness, you can devote everything you have to being afraid. Through dedication-- or mere habit, really-- fear becomes as hardwired within you as the length of your scrawny limbs or the color of your turd-brown eyes. Fear doesn't define you, fear /is/ you: your breath, your eyes, your ears, your mouth. /You/ are the house ablaze. You are the earth being torn apart. You are the masked men, their hunger, their rage. You are the vacant eyes of what really happened in Vietnam. Until something real happens. When something real happens, you're not even afraid anymore. Brittle, maybe, or a little coarse. Fear leaves and a kind of anger settles in its place. And you know what? There was never any point! The sleepless nights, the churning in your gut, the gnawed-down fingernails-- what a waste! Because the most frightening thing possible will never even occur to you. If anything, /that's/ what's you should fear. That you will never, ever anticipate the thing you should have feared the most.
The Vietnam War was definitive in the lives of those who served. But those who made it home, never fully returned. My story was an attempt to find that part of me who remained in-country. Upon the story’s completion, I realized the part I left behind, was perpetually lost.
Lyndon Johnson was a master of self-justification. According to his biographer Robert Caro, when Johnson came to believe in something, he would believe in it “totally, with absolute conviction, regardless of previous beliefs, or of the facts in the matter.” George Reedy, one of Johnson’s aides, said that he “had a remarkable capacity to convince himself that he held the principles he should hold at any given time, and there was something charming about the air of injured innocence with which he would treat anyone who brought forth evidence that he had held other views in the past. It was not an act… He had a fantastic capacity to persuade himself that the ‘truth’ which was convenient for the present was the truth and anything that conflicted with it was the prevarication of enemies. He literally willed what was in his mind to become reality.” Although Johnson’s supporters found this to be a rather charming aspect of the man’s character, it might well have been one of the major reasons that Johnson could not extricate the country from the quagmire of Vietnam. A president who justifies his actions only to the public might be induced to change them. A president who has justified his actions to himself, believing that he has the truth, becomes impervious to self-correction.
Funny that the people who aren’t doing the fighting are the most tired of it,” Evan said. “We never knew anything about people being sick of it, or protests, or people thinking we were the bad guys. All our news was censored. We thought everyone would be proud of us, like they are of our dads. We were out there, putting everything on the line every day because that’s what our country told us to do, under conditions that would make a saint afraid to look God in the face, and we were doing our best. I knew there were a few anti-war protests before I left, but I never expected it to be like this…
Anna M. Aquino
I remember my father, who had served in Vietnam, once talking to me about how real courage is when you're scared out of your mind but you do what you have to do anyway. I didn't feel very courageous at the moment. I felt like a small mouse in the mouth of a lion.
Lee Harvey Oswald fired the starting gun of America's nightmare years. This insignificant man's bullets didn't just echo through Dealey Plaza in 1963. The shockwaves from them arguably fuelled the turbulent events of the rest of the 1960s and only dissipated with Watergate and the end of the Vietnam War.
[T]he American Left, in its horror at the Vietnam War, reinvented sin.
The American soldiers were brave, but courage is not enough. David did not kill Goliath just because he was brave. He looked up at Goliath and realized that if he fought Goliath’s way with a sword, Goliath would kill him. But if he picked up a rock and put it in his sling, he could hit Goliath in the head and knock Goliath down and kill him. David used his mind when he fought Goliath. So did we Vietnamese when we had to fight the Americans.