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The military. For centuries, civilizations have depended on their military forces to protect them from the military forces of other civilizations or various other threats.

In times of peace, countries cut back their military budgets. In time of war, they make hasty preparations. As a result, they often send young, poorly-prepared / poorly-equipped people off to die in the terror that is war.

We'd like to think we can legislate war out of existence. And there are people who think we can do so. They have always been wrong, and nothing has changed that would make them right. We'd like to think we can prevent war--and we need to put more effort into doing so--but war is inevitable. Therefore, we must always prepare for war.


Those young men and women who go off to war often do so "for God and country." Yet, they often return to a country that abandons them. In the 20th Century U.S., this has been true for every war except WWII.

Career military people are a special breed. They are the backbone of any country's claim to sovereignty. Yet, they often must deal with a frustrating environment controlled by people who should not be involved in military matters. The needs of the military--the resources which will allow it to do its job effectively and efficiently--often take a backseat to political one-upmanship. To top it off, military people rarely get the respect they deserve.

What can you do, as a citizen, to make life a bit better for the military people you encounter? It never hurts to extend a hand and say, "Thank you for serving." It never hurts to say, "Please, let me pay for that meal. It's the least I can do." (If you don't think it's the least you can do, you aren't thinking!)

Does someone from your circle of friends serve in the military? Organize an appreciation club.

Don't swamp this person with letters, but take the time to write or e-mail.  You can send this person a care package once a month. It's easy enough to ask, "If we could send you something, what would be helpful to you?"

When a person who is serving in the military comes home on leave, what better way to arrive than to have a reception committee at the airport! This is a great gift you can give someone in the military, because it shows you care.

The military is no longer just about war. Today's military missions are often humanitarian. In the U.S., for example, the military will be there for you when a natural disaster hits. It is only fair that you be there for them.


The Vietnam War

By Cathy Richey, the Cathy Factor

The Vietnam War occurred from 1959 to April 30, 1975. In memory of the soldiers who died in this dreadful War, the Vietnam War Memorial stands tall in the Constitution Gardens in Washington, United States.

About 45,000 US service men and women died while fighting in one of America’s most divisive wars and another 10,000 soldiers went missing during the same time. The names of 58,627 deceased have been inscribed on the wall of this memorial. A diamond next to the name indicates the person was killed, a cross indicates the person is missing. If a body is identified, the cross is circled. The average age of those killed was 22 years. 2,056 are listed as "body not recovered."

During the Vietnam War, 246 Medals of Honor were received, 154 of them posthumously.

The memorial has been divided into three different parts, the Three Soldiers Statue, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. The third part, that is, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall is the most popular, attracting about 3 million tourists each year. 

About the Vietnam War Memorial:

  • Jan C. Scruggs, a decorated Vietnam infantryman, is the main inspiration behind this memorial. He set his own $ 2,800 aside and started raising funds for the construction of the memorial in May, 1972.
  • Scruggs was successful in collecting $ 8.4 million for the designing and construction of the Memorial.
  • The first stone was laid on March 26, 1982 and in the same year, all the three parts of the memorial were completed.
  • The Constitution Gardens where the memorial stands erect adjoining the National Mall, and close to the Lincoln Memorial, was a result of Scruggs requesting the Congress to set aside 3 acres of land for the memorial site.
  • The Vietnam War Memorial was designed by a 21-year old Yale University architecture student, Maya Ying Lin from Athens, Ohio out of a total 1,421 entries received as part of the design competition.
  • The memorial has been managed by the US National Park Service and governed by National Mall and Memorial Parks group.
  • The Memorial Wall consists of two black granite walls, 246 feet 9 inches long.
  • At 10.1 feet high, both the walls reach the highest tip where they meet, then narrowing down to a height of 8 inches at their extreme ends.
  • Due to the best reflective quality, granite was intentionally imported from the Indian city of Bangalore in Karnataka.
  • The bronze statue named ‘The Three Soldiers’, also known as The Three Servicemen, is located a short distance from the Memorial Wall. The three statues represent the three different castes of soldiers, who were a part of the war. These three soldiers, identified as White American, African American and Hispanic American, seem to interact with the wall.
  • The Vietnam Women’s Memorial is another part of the memorial situated towards the south of the wall. Designed by Glenna Goodacre in 1993, the memorial honors the women who served in the war, most of them being nurses.
  • In 2007, the American Institute of Architects awarded the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as the 10th most favorite on the "List of America’s Favorite Architecture".


About Cathy: She and her Doberman Trooper conduct research into all kinds of topics and produce articles like the one you see here. To contact Cathy, write to thecathyfactor@yahoo.com. Get the facts from Cathy, and let the Cathy Factor give you an edge.

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