Dear Editor:

This Memorial Day perhaps all of us should take a slightly different approach.

Perhaps we could start out by apologizing to the Vietnamese people. Say loud and clear we should not have helped the French in their war to maintain Vietnam as a French colony.

Then we should say we never should have sent American and allied troops to suppress the desires of the Vietnamese people to be a free and independent people with their own country.

Then we should apologize for the use of chemical warfare. Apologize to both the Vietnamese and the American vets and their spouses and their children.

Yes, I know that that to a certain extent the American veterans have been compensated for their injuries from the use of poison chemicals. But it shouldn't be hushed up as if it never really occurred or was much of a big deal. And of course we can assume that American leadership both in Washington and on the ground knew how dangerous the chemicals were.

I can only hope that as the American people are reminded about how many people were killed, we make sure to include these numbers along with the story of the French and Indo-China War and the Vietnamese War, both wars that should never have occurred, in our children's textbooks.

Sometimes numbers don't sink in but these numbers are horrific:

400,000 Vietnamese killed or suffered permanent injuries from Agent Orange; 2,000,000 suffered from illness; 500,000 birth defects; and 300,000 American veterans died from Agent Orange and at least 650,000 vets suffer from exposure.

Right now Washington is making noises about being prepared for war with the Chinese over the South China Sea and Taiwan.

When will we ever learn?

Chuck Wemstrom

Mount Carroll