Vietnam Time

9/10/2019 5:26:08 PM

American veteran honored with merit ‘For Peace and Friendship among Nations’

Paul Cox, an American veteran marine who dared to reveal the truth of the US’s dishonest war in Vietnam on September 9 was honored with the merit ‘For Peace and Friendship among Nations’ by the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations (VUFO). Paul is a member of Veterans for Peace (VFP), the organization which received commendation from VUFO on the same day.

Chairman of Vietnam - USA Society Nguyen Tam Chien, Paul Cox and Gerry Condon, VFP President at the awarding ceremony

Speaking at the ceremony, Paul Cox said: “This award belongs to all VFP members and all of the veterans of the US who have been working for peace and reconciliation in Vietnam. We are not a large organization, but we work as hard as we can for not only promoting reconciliation in Vietnam but also peace of the world”.

This is Paul’s fifth return to Vietnam since the end of the war. As a young man who volunteered to enlist, what he truly went through in Vietnam had wakened him up. The turning point in Paul’s life came in 1969 in Quang Nam province where he witnessed a massacre of civilians, “smaller scale but no less barbaric” than the mass killings at My Lai that occurred a year earlier. 

Three years later, Paul completed his service in Vietnam and came back to US. That was when he and several friends began to put out a newspaper and print the truth about the war named RAGE. The publication brings to US people the brutalities of the war, from the experience of the insiders like Paul Cox, instead of distorted information by US government then. It plays a part in promoting anti-war wave, since it served as an effort “to warn others who were about to be deployed.”

Paul Cox met a Vietnamese veteran in Quang Ngai province (photo: baoquangngai)

Over 40 years, Paul Cox participated in activities of healing the pain of war and promoting peace, in addition to anti – war movements. He has visited Agent Orange (AO)/Dioxin victims in many provinces and cities from North to South of Vietnam, including Hoa Binh, Thai Binh, Da Nang, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City. Paul and members of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign have put efforts in mobilizing community supports to share the burdens with AO/Dioxin victims.

In particularly, Paul Cox is also a dedicated individual in mobilizing the US government to ratify the draft bill on supports and compensation for AO/Dioxin victims in Vietnam. Moreover, he has unwaveringly accompanied and supported the victims in every lawsuit with American chemical companies to reclaim justice.

Paul Cox is one of 15.000 members of the Veterans For Peace (VFP). Since its establishment in 1985, VFP, has made significant efforts in postwar reconciliation.

In 1993, VFP cooperated with the Vietnam Veterans Association to build Vietnam Friendship Village, where AO/Dioxin victims including veterans and their children are taken care of.

Members of VFP also initiated Vietnam AO relief and responsibility campaign to mobilize the supports of friends and progressive American people for AO victims. 

In 10 years, the 160th chapter of VFP in Vietnam has sponsored USD 250.000 (over VND 6 billion) to humanitarian projects in Vietnam, including health care for AO/Dioxin victims, house building and unexploded ordnances removal.

A VFP's visit to Vietnam Friendship Village (Photo: hanoimoi)

On September 9, a merit certificate by VUFO was presented to VFP to acknowledge their contribution to cultivating the peace, friendship and solidarity between the people of Vietnam and US.

Speaking at the awarding ceremony, President of the Vietnam – USA Society (VUS) Nguyen Tam Chien said “this is the award recognizing the contribution of American individuals and organizations to promote peace, mutual understanding and solidarity between two countries”.

He also emphasized “Vietnamese and American veterans are those who build peace and friendship of two countries, those who makes the Vietnam – USA relationship different”.

Speaking about the acknowledgement of VUS and VUFO, VFP President, Gerry Condon said:

“Veterans For Peace was founded 34 years ago by veterans of American war in Vietnam. We were ashamed of what we had done in Vietnam and inspired by the heroic struggle of the Vietnamese for their freedom and independence. We are so happy that veterans can build relationship, love and solidarity with Vietnamese people. We are so proud of what members of 160th VFP’s chapter had done, a wonderful work, to eliminate the “trauma” of the American war in Vietnam”.

 

  ( translated by Van Nguyen )
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