. . . or click on the link here for audio Play – CBS Radio – News, Bulletins and Specials – April 29, 1975 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.
40 years ago today, on April 29, 1975 the war in Vietnam came to an end. In an address to the people of South Vietnam and the Viet Cong who were racing into Saigon, newly appointed President Minh accepted terms of unconditional surrender and told the remaining South Vietnamese troops to lay down their arms – the war was over.
Some 9,000 days – 35 years and countless lives later, the war that seemed to know no end was finally at an end. As the last U.S. military and embassy personnel flew out of Saigon, North Vietnamese troops entered the Presidential Palace and took up position. And as the streets in Saigon filled with people in both panic and elation, the horrific confusion taking place during the last few hours played out as the last correspondents filed their reports and recorded the scenes before they boarded helicopters and headed home.
No word from the White House – President Ford was hosting a dinner party for King Hussein of Jordan. And pledges of cooperation and toasts made to prospects for peace in the Middle East seemed to preoccupy Washington. It was finally reported the White House would have no comment until the following day.
But in the meantime, the reports flooded in and the documentaries were slapped together and aired. And the division of opinions were still voiced. From those who said it was a mistake to begin with, to others who said we still needed to be there, it was flooding the airwaves.
The news outlets were in overdrive and the recaps of our long, complicated history of involvement in South Vietnam were hastily edited and run, even while events continued to unfold.
To give you a taste of that day, here is a one hour excerpt of news reports, bulletins and recaps via CBS Radio News, all as it happened on April 29, 1975.