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The 1980's
A Wall of Honor



A Wall of Honor
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.18

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    communist, discontent, proposal, military, burning, flagpole, surrounding, selection, refused, wounded, draft, highly, tribute, controversial, policy, southeastern
     content words:    Vietnam War, United States, Unknown Soldier, Arlington Cemetery, Armed Forces, Southeast Asia, Vietnam Era, Vietnam Veterans Week, On April, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund


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A Wall of Honor
By Jane Runyon
  

1     The Vietnam War was controversial to say the least. Many people in America protested against the government's policy of sending troops to the southeastern Asian country in the first place. Young men refused to fight in the war. They even broke the law by burning their draft cards to show their discontent. Many soldiers returned from serving in the military to a less than warm welcome home. They found jobs hard to find. They found former friends who were now hostile to them. Americans didn't want to remember a war they considered to be a mistake.
 
2     Communist troops took control of Vietnam in April of 1975. As far as many Americans were concerned, that was the time to put Vietnam into the history books. But not everyone shared those feelings. What about the men who had given their lives in the name of their country. Shouldn't they be remembered? This question was raised by many veterans and the families of those who never made it home.
 
3     Traditionally, after the United States ended their participation in a conflict, the bodies of two unidentified servicemen were placed in a grave near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery. In 1978, Pentagon officials decided to break with tradition. Instead, they offered to display some of the medals awarded in Vietnam on a plaque behind the tomb. The plaque would be inscribed with the words, "Let all know that the United States of America pays tribute to the members of the Armed Forces who served honorably in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam Era." Veterans who were serving in Congress proposed the creation of a "Vietnam Veterans Week" to honor those who had fought in the war.

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