Today is a day set aside to honor those that served in the military and served in Vietnam during one of the most costly and divisive wars in U.S. history.

Roger Bigalke, photo by WJON.com's Richard Leguil

Monetarily is was a very costly war but the amount of lives lost was the biggest cost by far. 282,000 allies and Americans lost their lives with over 58,000 of those being Americans.  The vast majority of those Americans were in their late teens and early to mid 20's. Such a huge loss.

I am old enough to remember the nightly news casts showing the unloading of coffins of those killed in battle and the daily tally of casualties broadcast every night.

Many of those that made it home were never the same. I don't think PTSD was even a thing back then and the help many needed wasn't available.  I knew on guy that enlisted when he was 17 and became a field corpsman and saw the ugliest part of battle. He returned basically a shell of what he was.

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The Vietnam war lasted 20 years and escalated every year. It all started around 1955 in an attempt to stop the spread of communism and ended with the fall of Saigon in April of 1975.

We had the draft going then a every year 18 year olds all around the country would sweat out the draft lottery.  Low draft numbers almost certainly meant you would be shipped to Vietnam.

A real shame of it all was the way our soldiers were treated when they returned home. No fanfare, parades or anything like that. It seemed America just wanted to forget.

Let's not forget those that served, though. Thank a Vietnam vet for their service, not just today but every day.