33 years later: Vietnam, U.S. have bond

06/10/08 Robert Lorei
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Thirty-three years ago Americans evacuated the U.S. Embassy in South Vietnam, and one of the most controversial wars in U.S. history was finally over. The North Vietnamese took over the country, thousands of people fled as refugees, and Vietnam was no longer at the center of the debate in U.S. foreign policy.

Since 1975, Vietnam has come to symbolize for many people an example of pointless U.S. meddling in the internal affairs of another country at huge expense to both Americans and the people of that country. Others have sworn to never repeat the mistake of Vietnam by promising to use superior military force to overwhelm any future enemies.

Echoes of Vietnam have played prominently in every presidential election since then. Recently it was the swift boating of John Kerry and the military record of George W. Bush. This year, John McCain is reminding voters of his 5-1/2 years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.

Susan Taylor Martin is senior correspondent for the St. Petersburg Times and last month she visited Vietnam to find out what’s happened in that country since 1975.

Read her story.

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