I’m Still Grappling with My Feelings about the War in Viet Nam
Re-dressing the wound that never heals.
I’m still attempting to understand a history that my generation lived through that remains unresolved. It seems like one of those things we don’t talk about, like cousin Leah’s family secret.
Many of those who protested the war feel conflicted because they have friends or relatives who served. They don’t know how to place patriotism and feelings about an unjust war into a proper relationship.
We were told to believe what our leaders were telling us, while history has demonstrated and reiterated repeatedly that the war was a crock, a patchwork of lies from start to finish. Documents released decades later via the Freedom of Information Act confirm that the war was not only built on lies, but that the extent of the corruption and hubris was far worse than we imagined.
I recently wrote a poem about the death of a friend at whose funeral I was a pallbearer. Getting in touch with that pain showed me that I’ve not yet fully processed the experience. The manner in which I continue to be drawn to reflect on the war shows me that this, too, is unresolved.
Maybe it’s not really possible to neatly package our experiences so we can put them on a mental shelf and be done with them. I don’t know.
What I do know is that I have a hard time believing that I’m the only one who is still struggling to understand what we went through in the Sixties and early Seventies.