I’m Still Grappling with My Feelings about the War in Viet Nam

Re-dressing the wound that never heals.

Marines on an M-48 Tank in Vietnam. National Archives.

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.

14 of my Viet Nam Related Stories

How Many Tons of Bombs Were Dropped on Viet Nam

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, Revisited

The Decisive Battle of Dien Bien Phu

Our Military Industrial Complex

Two Days in October: Viet Nam Turning Point

Three Lessons for Business Leaders from Ken Burns’ Viet Nam Documentary

MayDay 1971: Correcting the Narrative

Did Nixon Set Up Machine Guns Atop the Stairs of the Supreme Court?

MayDay 1971: A Lesson from the Bent Penny Brigade

Anti-War Demonstrations: Are They Moral?

Paul Thomas Chamberlain Shares Insights from The Cold War’s Killing Fields

The Thích Quảng Đức Episode (A Snapshot from The Cold War’s Killing Fields)

Commander David Wheat and His Seven Year Stay at the Hanoi Hilton

Fascinating Backstory on the Dogs of War

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon

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