And to those who are not here with us today to play catch with their kids, light up the backyard barbeque, or kiss their wives on the cheek— they seem to be the ones who are sometimes forgotten. They were thousands of our youngest, best and brightest with untold futures, who perished on foreign soil for duty, honor, and country. And as the dead may be, at times, forgotten, all too often, the Vietnam veteran alive and well today still seeks to be remembered. Unlike the veteran from WWII who is revered today as he should be , the Vietnam veteran still combats the decisions made by men in power who should have known better.
Hollywood portrayals haven't helped the cause either. But for every "Saving Private Ryan," there's a "Platoon" or "Born on the 4th of July," which make the Vietnam vet seem like a crazy loon or ungrateful loudmouth, who is mad at the world and can't straighten out his life. The only positive movie about Vietnam was the release of "We Were Soldiers. This reminds me of a story of a certain Vietnam veteran's homecoming 37 years ago. When I was working at a Boston radio station back in , we put together an audio documentary of seven people's reflections on Vietnam for the 25th observance of the fall of Saigon.
Four veterans, a widow of a MIA pilot, a journalist, and a doctor, who practiced in Saigon, gave very personal and heartfelt thoughts on what they were feeling 25 years after Saigon.
More Than a Memory: Reflections of Viet Nam by Victor R. Volkman, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®
One of the veterans was a man from Roxbury, Massachusetts, and his name is Ernie Washington. After receiving odd looks from many, he tried to flag down a taxi to take him home to Roxbury.
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No such luck. King was shot dead in Memphis, Tennessee that evening and no cab was going to go into the black part of town, which was in upheaval. Washington had to settle for mass transit. So there he was, in his military uniform taking public transportation home after being wounded in war and serving his country with bravery and distinction.
Some hero's welcome, huh?
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- More Than a Memory: Reflections of Viet Nam?
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Not being attuned to what was going on at home while in the jungle, Washington quickly learned what was happening in the street and how people felt about Vietnam. But unlike the joy in the streets across America in , the prevailing feeling in was that the end was long overdue. Now, thirty years later, the world, including Vietnam, has turned into a much different place.
A Historian’s Paths to Peace: Reflections from Stein Tønnesson
One of our naval ships docked in their waters 2 years ago. With a population of 82 million— almost half of that number born after the war— Vietnamese memories of bullets and battles are few. Perhaps that's the simple reason for the healing and renewal. But for us, we live in an instant society. Everything must be quick or else it must be antiquated. The pace is furious and frenetic. We hardly ever stop to pause and reflect anymore. It takes an epic event to rally us together. And then 6 to 8 months later, we're right back on the fast track.
But, if you can, take a brief moment and remember that 30 years ago, thousands of your countrymen had given their lives for you in a small, but certain way.
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So, to Ernie Washington and all those who served in country and elsewhere around the world during the Vietnam era, thank you for your service. The Wall stands as the perpetual reminder for all of us to recall and honor those who left their souls in Vietnam half a world away, half a lifetime ago. But the dust stirred by that initial thrust settled quickly. The last thing the elite political class wants is to reconnect Vietnam to the present, certainly not in the direction that Nick Turse has failed to provoke them.
In which case, asks W. Moreover, we based our evidence for the ubiquity of American war crimes on our actual wartime experiences, as we helped sway the public to finally reject the war we ourselves had been fighting in. These are the unique historical episodes that Turse completely ignores. As already noted, the scope of research under display in his copious list of sources makes evident that he knew this story well.
Reflections on Vietnam, 30 years later
My own emails with the author, who had seen my pre-published version of this history while still in dissertation form — thick and unwieldy as he rightly chided me — date from No old Movement hand intimately familiar with those times could fail to notice how Turse prunes the most powerful unarmed force of domestic resistance to governing authority in U. But he nails the big picture bearing on the carnage and destruction, to a large degree intentionally orchestrated by the U.
But I would take issue even with that. On the thin narrative thru-line where Turse strings the graphically descriptive details of one atrocity after another, he seems to weigh the vile handywork of individual GIs operating in the field on a par with the far more deadly toll that sprang from cold hearted policies of mass murder designed by high level commanders, political bureaucrats and academics: the indiscriminate use of artillery and air power to remove and disrupt populations, and which caused the overwhelming number of deaths and casualties among the South Vietnamese.
I sense this would matter very little to Nick Turse. Reading that, it occurred to me that Turse had learned very little about veterans when his research was initially focused on PTSD. He seemed to have missed the fact that deep issues of trust determine who veterans will talk to about war, and as is commonly understood, that they generally talk only with each other. But now Turse is pissed, and he engages in a bit of shadow boxing with veterans as ghostly adversaries.
And, it has cost him. My own take is that Turse is suffering from the equivalent of penis envy in having been denied firsthand experience with warfare. This is hardly surprising since the opportunities for serious research and interviewing in Vietnam are relatively recent.
By the time mass tourism had blossomed there, returning veterans have typically expressed astonishment that the recovered Vietnam they find today is totally unrecognizable from the country they had once fought in. This is the Vietnam in which the kind of research Turse brags about is finally possible.
korywokoja.ga Long before that, veterans established humanitarian projects in Vietnam and have for decades been in the forefront of campaigns to raise public awareness of the human suffering still afflicting so many Vietnamese who survived the war, not least the toll in human lives from herbicide poisoning and unexploded ordinance, all reaching now into the third and fourth post-war generations.