Letters to the Editor: His brother died in the Vietnam War. Now, he worries about Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov move to their seats before their meeting over Ukraine on Jan. 21 in Geneva, Switzerland.
(Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

To the editor: When I was about to graduate from Fresno State in the 1960s, President Johnson assured us, “We are not about to send American boys 9 or 10,000 miles away” to war in Vietnam. That promise changed when a contingent of Marines made a Hollywood-style landing in Da Nang in 1965. (“Top U.S. defense officials warn against ‘horrific’ Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Jan. 28)

My kid brother joined the Marines, and we buried him with full military honors on his 21st birthday. Standing at attention, while taps was played and a 21-gun salute broke the afternoon silence, I remembered the last time I saw my brother and told him to keep his college draft deferment and avoid the military. My parents embraced the folded flag given to them by the Marines, and I told my brother goodbye as the casket was lowered.

As I watch the war footing in the Ukraine, I am reminded of the origins of the war in Vietnam. I am often reminded that the young men fight the old man’s war, and I trust that this generation of young men and women will not endure the trauma of war.


Gary L. Washburn, Chatsworth

The writer is a retired Army first lieutenant.


To the editor: Why should Americans care about saving lives in faraway Ukraine? We don’t even care about saving American lives right here at home.

Nearly 900,000 people in this country have died of COVID-19, and yet a significant portion of the country and its leadership are still doing everything in their power to foil simple, reasonable measures that would save lives and end the pandemic.

Individual sovereignty is more important to these people than civic responsibility, even if it means killing themselves or their fellow citizens.

Greg Seyranian, Redondo Beach


To the editor: Negotiators with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization who are talking with the Russians about the situation in Ukraine might do well to offer the following proposal:

If Russia respects the borders of Ukraine and the borders of all the other countries that were previously part of the Soviet Union, NATO will respect the current borders of Russia.

Alan Rosenberg, Dana Point