The word is Vietnam.I've blogged about this before. My brother was draft age during Vietnam. It was always a concern in our home: how would he get out of it? One of my earliest political memories is of Walter Cronkite's newscast, with the three flags in the upper right corner - American, South Vietnamese, North Vietnamese - with a supposed body count of the day next to each. My parents would watch in sober silence, or shaking their heads, jaws clenched. One of my next political memories is attending an anti-war rally with my father.
Its absence was never more noticeable than in the coverage this past weekend of the 30th anniversary of the Vietnam war, marked in Vietnam with celebrations, but largely ignored in America where CNN led with the story of a bride who went missing when she had second thoughts.
Is this denial or is it deliberate? Just this past month, the national Smithsonian Museum of American History installed a new patriotically correct permanent war-positive exhibition, "The Price of Freedom: Americans at War."
If you want to know about the pain of the war official America wants you to forget, you have to head a few blocks south on the mall in Washington to the Vietnam memorial with its nearly 60,000 names engraved in black marble. That's where you will see the tears of visitors every day and their lingering memories three decades later.
Schechter lists a dozen parallels between the two wars. Read the whole thing here.