“Good morning Vietnam!” 

Those words were made famous by  Robin Williams in the 1987 movie of the same name. The setting was Saigon in 1965, the year the Americans began in earnest their involvement in the Vietnam War.

Battles would be fought here and the war would end here. The Fall of Saigon came on April 30, 1975, ending the Vietnam War.

In 2017, President Donald Trump signed the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017.

This act officially recognizes March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

This date was chosen because on March 29, 1973, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) was disbanded and the last U.S. combat troops departed the Republic of Vietnam.

The Vietnam War was a turbulent time for America and was the “first television war.”  The U.S. involvement in the war sparked the beginning of the anti-war movement in the United States.

The protest that still comes to mind is Kent State University where four people were killed on its campus May 4, 1970.  The Vietnam War was the longest in U.S. history (1954-1975) until Afghanistan (2002-2014).

The Vietnam War was a costly one for the United States — 58,318 Americans died in combat and another 301,000 veterans would later die of Agent Orange. Perhaps you know someone who died from Agent Orange.

 All of the 58,318 names of those who died can be found on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Eleven soldiers from Alleghany County were killed in the Vietnam War.

Following is a list of their names, rank, age and date of death.

• U.S. Army Private 1st Class Nelson Talmadge Nicely, 20, July 23, 1967.

• U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Fred Edward Barnette, 39, Clifton Forge, April 26, 1967.

• U.S. Navy Seaman Apprentice William Henry Harrison, III, 19, Clifton Forge, Oct. 1, 1972.

• Army Specialist Ralph Wayne Broughman, 26, Covington, Feb. 7, 1965.

• U.S. Navy Gunners Mate Thomas James Craghead Jr., 21, Covington, Feb. 4, 1968.

• U.S. Army 1st Lt. Gary Lee Miller, 21, Covington, Feb. 16, 1969.

• U.S. Marine Pfc. Gary Allen Burks, 20, Covington, April 29, 1967.

• U.S. Army Specialist Roy Darrell Humphrey, 30, Covington, April 26, 1968.

• U.S. Army Pfc. Delmis Clayton Watson, 20, Covington, Sept. 2, 1969.

• U.S. Army Sgt. Charles Thomas Cooke, 20, Covington, Jan. 3, 1968.

• U.S. Marine Pfc. Michael Lee Jenkins, 21, Covington, Feb. 25, 1969.

We salute these men for their sacrifice to our country and all the other young men who gave their life to this war.  

There were no Vietnam casualties from Bath County.

In 1993, there was a Vietnam Women’s Memorial erected in Washington, D.C., that honors the 265,000 women who served during this war.

One of television’s funniest entertainers, Martha Raye, was a  USO entertainer who was in  Chinook in 1967.

There were lots of dead and wounded and when told there would not be time for  her show, she was heard to say “Captain, see this eagle?   I am a full ‘Bird’ in the U.S. Army Reserve, and on this is ‘Caduceus’ which means I am a nurse, with a surgical specialty, now take me to you wounded.”

Martha was also given several honorary military titles, including honorary ranks of Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army and  Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. We honor her many efforts today.

The top five battles of the Vietnam War were:

• Battle of la Drang Valley, November 14-18, 1965: There were heavy casualties for the Americans  The importance of this war was that it defined tactics of both sides for the war.

• Battle of Khe Sanh, Jan. 21 through April 9, 1968:  This battle paved the way for the Tet Offensive. Khe Sanh was one of the longest and deadliest battles of the war.

• Tet Offensive, Jan. 30 through March 28, 1968: One of the largest military campaigns of the Vietnam War.  Tet means “festival” and the attack occurred on the Vietnamese New Year.

• Hamburger Hill, May 10-20, 1969: This battle was a tactical victory for America and South Korea. A movie by the same was made in 1987.

• The Fall of Saigon, April 30, 1975: Liberation of Saigon. This battle marked the end of the Vietnam War.

The most popular book on the Vietnam War is “We Were Soldiers Once and Young” by Lt. General Harold G. Moore.

The most popular movie is “Rambo” and the second most popular is “Flight of the Intruder,” which is based on hydro pilots behind enemy lines in Vietnam.

One of the most popular songs during the war was “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” by the Animals.

All gave some. Some gave all. On this National Vietnam Veterans Day, Monday, March 29, we salute each and every one of our veterans for their courage and sacrifice to our great country. God bless America and God bless all of you.