1981 – 1985

Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC Dedicated:  Designed by Maya Ying Lin, a 22 year-old Yale architectural student, the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial opens in Washington, DC.  The quiet, contemplative structure consisting of two black granite walls forming a “V”, lists the names of the 58,183 Americans killed in the Vietnam War.  The memorial itself stirred debate as some thought its presentation was too muted and somber, lacking the familiar elements of war-time heroics found in most war memorials.

Reagan Promises to Make MIAs “Highest National Priority”:  For the family members of those still listed as Missing-In-Action, the war is not over.  In an address to the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia, President Ronald Reagan pledges to make the finding of these individuals of “highest national priority.”

Dow Chemical Knowledge of Dioxin Revealed:  Documents used as part of a lawsuit brought by 20,000 Vietnam veterans against several chemical companies reveal that Dow Chemical had full knowledge of the serious health risks posed by human exposure to dioxin, a chemical found in the herbicide Agent Orange. Evidence indicated that despite this information, Dow continued to sell herbicides to the U.S. military for use in Vietnam.

“Unknown Soldier” of Vietnam War Laid to Rest

US Offers Asylum to Vietnamese Political Prisoners

Vietnamese Forces Defeat Khmer Rouge Rebels:  An offensive launched against refugee Khmer Rouge rebels spills over the Thai border and eventually comes to involve Thai troops. The Vietnamese are successful in suppressing the rebels and solidify their hold on Cambodia despite criticism from neighboring countries and the United Nations.