The title of this post is the one attached to the video I chose to commemorate Veteran’s Day. It seems redundant, though. They are brave men. Brave men are by definition men of honor.
Or so it would seem to me.
Choosing this video required going through the many choices available on You Tube. So much hope, so much loss, so many tears.
It made me ponder: would the Vietnam War have gone differently if we had been able to access another view besides what the MSM permitted us to see back then? I think it might have been a crucial difference, one which affected the outcome of our subsequent history. Our country would be in a very different place now, a place as different as it would have been had the American South won the Civil War.
Our defeat in Vietnam was that important and that life-changing for us as a people.
Instead, we listened to the MSM; those in charge decided to cut and run. We executed an ignominious, immoral withdrawal and the North Vietnamese descended on the south like vultures to wipe out those who had cooperated with the Americans.
Some escaped. The boat people floated away on leaky, unseaworthy vessels that were a vast improvement on staying behind in a tortured homeland.
Many of them eventually washed up on our shores. They were smart, productive, and proud of their heritage. I will always find it amazing that their sense of betrayal due to our dishonorable abandonment did not become an excuse for them to join the ranks of the professionally aggrieved and resentful. The character of the Vietnamese is not like that. They don’t play victim, though some of the outlaw types certainly play “aggressor” to the hilt.
Many boat people joined our armed forces. They have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, just as other American soldiers did.
We used to exchange emails with a soldier named Minh Duc, one such survivor of Vietnam who grew up here and went on to serve with honor in Iraq. He started a blog when he came home.
But now Minh Duc has disappeared and I don’t know what happened to him. All I know is that he has long ceased updating his blog or answering our emails.
– – – – – – – – –
Still, I think of him, and sometimes I go over to read again his posts. They remain relevant because Minh Duc, a naturalized citizen of America knows (better than any cradle-born member of our country could) what the costs of freedom are and what it takes to bear that price. He paid, in honor and courage, long before he ever reached manhood.
Today, I went to State of Flux again, just to see if perhaps he’d left a newer post. But there it remains, that last one from April, 2006.
Here is a post from the previous month. Here, Minh Duc gives us a first-person look at the way the black market operates in a place where government has its fingers in all the pies:
Even Black Market Is Better Than Government
The common argument among government intervention advocates is that without government regulation and intervention, a free market would lead to chaos, people would exploit one another. Here is a personal story that will debunk that myth.
I remember the period in Communist Vietnam from the late 70s through early 80s and the economic condition back then. It was a time I cannot forget because of the food shortage and other shortage of essential goods.
The Communist Forces took over the South in April 1975 and soon after completely nationalized the economy – even small and pop business was illegal. And within a year of it, consumer goods disappeared from the market. I remember standing in line with my mother for half a day to shop at Cooperative stores and by the time we get to the store, there was nothing worth buying. And in the rare occasions when there are something to buy, it is substandard and inferior products. And when I say substandard, I mean standard of a third world country – which is almost no standard.
One maybe able to tolerate not having toothpaste or soaps, but the worst experience is not having food. The collectivization of agriculture result in the worst food shortage experienced since World War Two. Those were the years of food shortage. The food shortage was experience exclusively in urban area. It happened because of two reasons. The first problem was distribution, food was gathered at central locations; and because of government bureaucracy, and they rotted in centralized warehouses. Second, there was little economic incentive for farmers to product more rice that they need for themselves. So farmers would grow just enough for their family. Congee (rice soup), to increase the volume of food, was the common meal. And it was barely enough to fill one stomach. I remember going to bed hungry. The situation was so bad that on many occasions we had to eat cattle feeds as substitution for rice.*
As a natural reaction to the economic situation, the black market emerged. At first, it was simply people battering goods and services. A fisherman would give a fish to a barber in exchange for a haircut. Since farmers were not allowed to sell their agricultural goods. However they could exchange it for other things. Illiterate people would give my mother chicken in exchange for reading lesson. This form of battering would later evolved into the black market, as complex as any market.
During the war, my mother was an elementary school teacher. My father was a music professor and a city councilman. It did not matter to the victorious Communist that my father was a member of the opposition party. He was considered to be a member of the former regime. He was arrested, jailed for a couple of years and was forced out of the job (he would be arrested again later but it is another story). The salary of an elementary teacher was not enough to feed my family so my mother quit. She and my father entered the black market as fabric merchants…
This represents about half of his essay on black market economics and the fortunes of his family. You would benefit from reading the rest of his tale as you may eventuallyl be living some milder version of this life as governments around the world repeat these mistakes – all for our own “good”.
Minh Duc has become, for me, the soldier missing in action. He didn’t put up a farewell-I’m-tired-of-blogging post. Is that indicative of anything bad? I don’t know. He seemed a determined man, one who finished what he started. He was also a courteous person and didn’t appear to be the kind simply to walk off the stage without so much as a by-your-leave. To simply abandon his blog a year and a month after he began it seems uncharacteristic of whom he was.
If you go through his posts, you’ll see what I mean. And if it hasn’t been removed, there is a photo in there somewhere, one of Minh Duc posed proudly in uniform in Iraq.
So on this Veteran’s Day, I salute you, Minh Duc, wherever you may be. Your life is a testament to courage in its many forms. State of Flux is not a closed blog to me, it is simply interrupted. You will remain on our rolls as long as Gates of Vienna is permitted to exist.