FAIRFIELD — A half-century – to the day – after President Lyndon Johnson presented the Tonkin Gulf Resolution to Congress, the Solano County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday marked the event in honor of Vietnam veterans.
President Johnson presented the resolution on Aug. 5, 1964, and Congress passed it Aug. 7, 1964, allowing the United States to help Southeast Asian countries deemed threatened by communist aggression. A county resolution noted that, although Congress never officially declared war, many consider the event the official start of the Vietnam War.
Supervisors passed a resolution urging “citizens to honor and give thanks to our distinguished Solano County Vietnam veterans” and to “renew our sacred commitment to the veterans who answered our country’s call to serve during the Vietnam War and to the family members who also sacrificed in our homeland.”
Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Linda Seifert made the presentation of the county resolution.
“No words will ever be worthy of their service nor any honor worthy of their sacrifice,” Seifert said.
The Gulf of Tonkin incident came after two supposed attacks by the North Vietnamese on the United States destroyer Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin on Aug. 2 and Aug. 4, 1964. The Aug. 4 incident has since been called into doubt and what those on the ship thought was a second attack attributed possibly to weather effects on the ship’s radar.
Ted Puntillo, the county’s veteran services officer, addressed supervisors and the audience. He served in the Army in Vietnam from 1966 to 1969.
Puntillo noted that the unpopularity of the Vietnam War affected the way people in the United States treated those who served in it. When veterans returned from Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s, they couldn’t wear their uniforms in public, he said. Attitudes changed after the 1991 Gulf War, he said.
“Now Americans have learned their lesson – we don’t confuse the war with the warriors,” Puntillo said.
The Board of Supervisors had all of the Vietnam War veterans present in its chamber come to the front of the room. About 20 veterans did so.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.