It wasn’t long after I’d left South Vietnam for good—my year-long tour of duty having abruptly ended two weeks early, owing to growing enemy encirclement of the country—that the news broke that Saigon had finally fallen. This was in April of 1975, and by then America’s appetite for war had pretty much been exhausted. I had been stationed just outside the city and had traveled in and out many times, and I was saddened by the ravages visited upon a once gracious capital city known as “the Paris of the Orient.” 

But seeing the footage of that last flight lifting off the roof of the U.S. Embassy, with scores of Vietnamese desperately clinging to the helicopter, left me sickened and ashamed. Here was the final chapter in a failed U.S. attempt to rescue a beleaguered ally from the tender mercies of the Viet Cong. We had abandoned these people and for no other reason than that we’d lost the will to win.

It was a humiliation I had hoped never to witness again.

Praise the Lord

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