Letters: March 29 is National Vietnam War Veterans Day

Our veterans have a special place in our society having paid a heavy price for the life that we live today. Our veterans have made unquestioned, unconditional sacrifice and have honorably served our nation.

From the American Legion, there is a quote that we should, “…never forget the sacrifices made by so many who served in defense of our nation’s freedom,” and that, “….Time will not dim the glory of their deeds.”

Friday, March 29, is a very special day designated as “National Vietnam War Veterans Day,” a day established by Congress and signed by the president of the U.S. that we join our nation to thank a Vietnam veteran for service to our nation.

This important date honors, acknowledges and recognizes all “U.S. Armed Forces personnel with active duty service between Nov. 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975, regardless of location of service.”

From two special Newsweek editions (“Vietnam Vets – By the Numbers,” Nov. 4, 2017; “Vietnam War – Stark Statistics,” Aug. 4, 2018), there are some grim statistics that shed light on a darken world faced still to this day by many Vietnam veterans “…both in the jungle and back at home.”

The suicide rate among Vietnam veterans is 1.7 higher than “suicide among the population at large.”

There is a 3:1 ratio of crippling wounds to the lower extremities compared to World War II. Sixty-one percent of Vietnam fatalities passed on “before their 21st birthday.” Some 830,000 have “…had symptoms and related functional impairment associated with PTSD.”

And “47 percent of all homeless veterans fought in Vietnam,” compared to 17 percent “of the veteran homeless population (who) served after the Vietnam War” and “15 percent of the veteran homeless population served before the Vietnam War.”

Three percent of the homeless Vietnam veterans are female. All the while, in a tumultuous nation, of the Vietnam era veterans, “… 89 percent received an honorable discharge.”

Of the homeless Vietnam veterans, 56 percent are minorities categorized primarily as Hispanic or African-American. On any given night, there are “between 130,000 and 200,00 American veterans” who are homeless.

Many veterans still have unexplainable health symptoms that continue to baffle the medical community and veterans live day-to-day with these symptoms.

A generation of our youth went halfway around the world in answer to the nation’s call for duty, honor and sacrifice. While many objected, there are many among us who would not hesitate to answer our nation’s call to duty once again, as commemorated by this important date, March 29, as an important date for Vietnam War veterans who served honorably for our freedom that we enjoy daily.

There is a piercing yet thoughtful quote from the “U.S. Veterans” magazine (spring 2019, page 48), that indeed, “This is the greatest country in the world. We can thank our military. Without them, we’re nothing.”

At the very least, as a certain period of youthful horrid scars for many fades into the mist of time, a continuing gratitude and respect year-round for our Vietnam veterans for their service would underscore the honor deserving of all our veterans.

Despite grim statistics, there are Vietnam era veterans helping other veterans who are facing uphill battles at home for their health, medical and educational benefits that they have rightfully and honorably earned.

Far too often, due to cultural/language barriers, many veterans would rather not “fight fire-with-fire” for their benefits for they have borne the battle already and just quietly live in their own world.

How one cannot be affected by this solemn, dignified mannerism, a quiet albatross with near sounds of silence that are too loud to not hear, deserves urgent time and attention. Only by being among this very special population can one be affected by the silent communication for promised assistance, which again is not by any means a form of welfare handout.

As a symbol of gratitude, respect and a welcoming home, many communities, towns and cities, regionally and nationally, are beginning to host special events on March 29 as a special day to honor and thank Vietnam era veterans for their service, and continuing service, to our nation.

Harold G. Begay
To’Nanees’ Dizi, Ariz.

Warning signs after hitting a pothole

Hitting a pothole can adversely affect a vehicle’s handling and performance.

It can be difficult to know if and to what extent your car has been damaged, so the Car Care Council urges motorists to watch for three warning signs to help determine if hitting a pothole has damaged their vehicle.

1. Loss of control, swaying when making routine turns, bottoming out on city streets, or bouncing excessively on rough roads are indicators that the steering and suspension may have been damaged. The steering and suspension are key safety-related systems. Together, they largely determine a vehicle’s ride and handling.

2. Pulling in one direction, instead of maintaining a straight path, and uneven tire wear, are symptoms of an alignment problem. Proper wheel alignment is important for the lifespan of tires and helps ensure safe handling.

3. Low tire pressure, bulges or blisters on the sidewalls, or dents in the wheel rim will be visible and should be checked out as soon as possible, as tires are the critical connection between the vehicle and the road.

Because hitting a pothole with your car can do a real number on tires, wheels, steering and suspension, and alignment, it is a good idea to describe the symptoms to a professional technician who can then check out the vehicle and make the necessary repairs to ensure safety and reliability.

Rich White
Executive Director
Car Care Council
Bethesda, Md.


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