A strong military was the key toAmerica’s victory over the SovietUnion in the Cold War. Millions of Americans served in themilitary during the Cold War.Theirservice was often at great personaland family sacrifice, yet they didtheir duty.
"pay any price, bear any burden,meet any hardship, support anyfriend, oppose any foe, in order toassure the survival and the successof liberty." In the same address, he also said, "Ask not what your country can dofor you; ask what you can do foryour country."
During the Cold War era,millions of Americansserved in the military,defending freedom in warsand conflicts that were notalways popular. Many werekilled or wounded.•Soldiers marchingin Vietnam- an“unpopular” war forAmerica
President Kennedy, a WorldWar II veteran, wasassassinated in 1963 inDallas,Texas, in an eventthat shook the nation’sconfidence and began aperiod of internal strifeand divisiveness, especiallyspurred by divisions overU.S. involvement inVietnam.The still above shows themotorcade driving through Dallasas Lee Harvey Oswald (below)shot the President from across thestreet. Oswald was later killed byJack Ruby.
Unlike veterans of World War II, whoreturned to a grateful andsupportive nation,Vietnam veteransreturned often to face indifferenceor outright hostility from some whoopposed the war.World War IIveterans werecelebrated whenthey returnedhome. They wereconsidered"defenders ofdemocracy"!Those opposed to the warwould sometimes refer tothese veterans as "BabyKillers".There were no real"welcome home"ceremonies for these menand women.
It was not until severalyears after the end of thewar that the wounds of thewar began to heal inAmerica, and Vietnamveterans were recognizedand honored for theirservice and sacrifices.The Vietnam War Memorialshows that Americans arefinally allowing the woundsleft to our national body andpride to heal.
As a result of theirservice, the UnitedStates and Americanideals of democracy andfreedom ultimatelyprevailed in the ColdWar struggle with Sovietcommunism.Flags courtesy of www.theodora.com/flags used with permission