45 years since South Vietnam’s last 24 hours.
Operation Frequent Wind, conducted on April 29th and during the early morning hours of April 30th, evacuated the remaining Americans and a portion of the Vietnamese who had worked with the Americans.
At 11:30 am, April 30, 1975 (12:30 am EST, April 30 in the United States), a PAVN tank crashed through the gates of the Presidential Palace in Saigon. The driver leaped out, hauled down the South Vietnamese Flag and raised the Flag of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Vietnam (Viet Cong), bringing the Vietnam War to a close.
Most people on the east coast of the United States, including in Washington, D.C., were fast asleep when the final end came for South Vietnam.
The United States has had its foreign policy successes and failures, but Vietnam still remains the United States’ greatest failure to this day. The United States was drawn in on the basis of a lie and 58,000 military deaths later, had nothing but complete failure to show for it.
And the side we were backing was really no better than the side we were fighting.
One side was Communist/Nationalist that resorted to vile measures to advance its position.
The other side was cabal of former French/Catholic collaborators (now United States collaborators) who were corrupt to the core and resorted to equally vile measures to advance its position.
Today, the Vietnamese expatriate community continues to fly the flag of a dead regime that was ever bit as vile as its opponent. People speak of the horrors done by the North Vietnamese to South Vietnamese and American prisoners, when South Vietnamese did the exact same things to captured North Vietnamese and even worse things to captured Viet Cong.
It is simply a war where I could not support either side.
Instead, I would have kept the United States out of a civil war it had no business interfering in.
But the victorious regime turned the corner in 1986, abandoned orthodox communism and started the path it remains on today. The United States finally reconciled with Vietnam in 1995 and today Vietnam is an emerging First World nation.