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Remembering The Vietnam War’s Battle Of Khe Sanh

On our way to Memorial Day, a deep look at the deadly Vietnam War battle of Khe Sanh, and those who fought.

In this May 13, 2014 file photo, a U.S. Army honor guard stands at the grave site of Army Pvt. William Christman, the first military burial at the cemetery, marking the beginning of commemorations of the 150th anniversary of Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.  (AP)

In this May 13, 2014 file photo, a U.S. Army honor guard stands at the grave site of Army Pvt. William Christman, the first military burial at the cemetery, marking the beginning of commemorations of the 150th anniversary of Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. (AP)

As controversial as America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have often been, when American soldiers came home from those wars, they’ve been widely met with respect and thanks.  For the now-aging veterans of the Vietnam War, it was different.  Even when they came home from terrible and terrifying battles.  The Vietnam War battle at Khe Sanh was great and terrible.  A big, remote base nearly overrun.  Months of terrible fighting.  Hundreds of American dead.  A brutally ambiguous end.  This hour On Point:  for this Memorial Day weekend, remembering Khe Sanh.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Gregg Jones, long time foreign correspondent in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Burma, Indonesia, India and the Philippines. Author of the new book “Last Stand at Khe Sanh: The U.S. Marines’ Finest Hour in Vietnam.” Also author of “Honor in the Dust.” (@gjonesasia)

From Tom’s Reading List

Dallas Morning News: History review: ‘Last Stand at Khe Sanh: The U.S. Marines’ Finest Hour in Vietnam,’ by Gregg Jones — “The author likewise shows how the Marines threw everything they had right back, including knives and rocks when they ran out of ammunition. Though helicopter gunships, carrier-based fighter-bombers and B-52 heavy bombers blasted the attackers, transport planes and helicopters still drew fire as they delivered supplies and fresh troops and picked up casualties at Khe Sanh’s dangerous runway.”

AP: Many Events to Mark Arlington Cemetery Anniversary– “Arlington National Cemetery has planned a series of events to commemorate its 150th anniversary in May and June. The first military burial occurred May 13, 1864, for Union Pvt. William Henry Christman of the 67th Pennsylvania Infantry. It was officially designated as a military cemetery on June 15, 1864.”

CNN: Hallowed ground, Arlington Cemetery marks 150 years — “More than 600 acres now, Arlington is mostly known for dignified rows of white marble headstones that sweep down an expansive, rolling tree-lined slope where the hallowed ground almost touches the Potomac River. The cemetery is also a year-round tourist attraction with 250,000 visitors each month. Many flock to the most well-known grave — that of President John F. Kennedy. It is marked by the flickering ‘eternal flame.’”

Read An Excerpt From “Last Stand at Khe Sanh: The U.S. Marines’ Finest Hour in Vietnam” By Gregg Jones

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