January 28, 1973 – The first official day of what was hoped to be Peace in Vietnam. The accords were signed in Paris and a ceasefire went into effect at 8:00 am in South Vietnam. The last U.S. troops were to pull out within 60 days and what was the seemingly endless odyssey of the Vietnam War was finally slated to come to an end.
But there were flare ups – and the last known American soldier was killed during a rocket attack only hours after the ceasefire went into effect. But for the most part, the ceasefire was holding. Bells rang throughout South Vietnam, signaling an end to the fighting – and a cautious wave of optimism spread throughout the country, but it wasn’t over – heavy fighting was reported 60 miles outside of Saigon. President Thieu warned the people of South Vietnam that it was only a ceasefire and not an actual end to the War. But as far as America was concerned, it was over.
And much of this day was spent looking back on the Vietnam war – the inquiries still going on over those regarded as missing, the Advisers packing up and getting ready to leave – the armchair assessments and post-mortem – all that hindsight.
But there was other news going on this day. President Nixon had taken to the airwaves to address the American people over his proposed cuts in spending and dismantling certain programs deemed a waste of money. The address, on radio only, was designed to convince the American people to put pressure on Congress to accept Nixon’s budget bill, which he was slated to present to Congress the following day. Nixon was calling for a budget of some $268 billion. But in order to do that, the President was asking for drastic cuts in spending and government funding of programs, and most of the programs Nixon wanted to drastically cut or dismantle were in the area of education and social welfare; all with the goal of curtailing government spending and working on a balanced budget without increasing taxes for Fiscal year 1973, or what Nixon referred to as The Battle Against Inflation.
And there was more news – much more, as presented by NBC Nightly News for January 28, 1973.