By Senior producer
msnbc.com
updated 5/3/2005 10:26:16 AM ET 2005-05-03T14:26:16

5 p.m. ET

I am not old enough to remember Vietnam, and so my impressions of the war are not first hand.

I remember the smell of my father's dress uniform jacket, that same smell that hits you when walk into a vintage clothing shop.  Dust and moth balls.  I went through a phase in high school when I would wear it to make a statement.  I'm not sure what statement, as there was no war at the time, no draft, no protesting.

As a child my parents would take me and my sister to clambakes at the local VFW.  The men would sit together and talk, but as far as I can recall they did not discuss the war.  In fact, I don't recall my father ever discussing the war.

It was only recently that he and I got into a conversation about it, on the phone.  It was sparked by the release of Jane Fonda's book and the media attention she has been getting.

He revealed how difficult it was for soldiers returning from Vietnam.  There were no ticker tape parades and no Doisneau photo opportunities.  No dramatic kisses in the street.  Rather, there were catcalls and jeers.  Spitballs, and protests.  Some businesses refused to hire Vietnam Vets, and many had the impression that everyone who went to Vietnam was some kind of druggie or criminal.  This was clearly not the case, just a popular misconception at the time fueled by a thriving anti-war culture.

Since then, my dad and hundreds of thousands of men like him have moved on and had careers, marriages and babies.  In the bucolic surroundings of suburbia with closets full of Gant and Polo shirts it is easy to move on, to forget.  And then something happens, like a Jane Fonda book signing, and the memories return like unwelcome houseguests that must be endured until they decide to leave again.

The wounds the nation suffered during that turbulent era still exist.

Tomorrow marks the 30th anniversary of the withdrawal from Saigon.  Today on Connected, an hour devoted to the men and women who served in that war, and the experiences and memories they had.

We'll be joined by General Barry McCaffrey who served two tours and won three purple hearts, Colonel Jack Jacobs who won the Congressional Medal of Honor, and a panel of distinguished veterans and experts.

This will be an hour you won't forget.

If you have memories of Vietnam or life here at home during the war years, send them to Maciulis@MSNBC.com and Connected@MSNBC.com

12 p.m. ET

It is very reassuring to know that Social Security will be bankrupt by 2041, right around the time I'd be eligible for my check.

As boring as the topic is, and for as little as the average American like me really understands about finance, it is crucially important that people don't retire into poverty.

The norm today is that we work as long as we can and as hard as we can, most people pushing off retirement until their late sixties or beyond.  Gone are the days of wrapping up the toil and trouble, getting a gold watch and a pat on the back from your employer, and spending the rest of your life gardening and playing golf.  Most people just can't afford it.  We all agree on that.

Both sides of the aisle admit there is a problem.  An exception might be columnist Paul Krugman who still maintains that there is no imminent crisis.  Regardless, it is the matter of how to solve it that has Washington embroiled in a heated battle.

Last night President Bush dropped the "m" word...means testing.  That's pretty scary talk for anyone who is above middle class, and not a traditionally Republican thing to propose.

The President also dropped a "d" bomb last night by mentioned James Dobson, the conservative leader of Focus on the Family who has been so prominent in the filibuster fracas.  Bush seemed to cool in his tone on Dobson and disagreed on the message that being opposed to the judicial nominees makes you an opponent of people of faith.

These two topics will be great fodder for our conversation today with Carol Moseley Braun and former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore.

We'll also discuss the Army's new manual on interrogation tactics, released one year after we learned about the Abu Ghraib scandal.

Join us and we'll keep you Connected.

Send us your thoughts. Maciulis@MSNBC.com and Connected@MSNBC.com.

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