I Interviewed A Vietnam Veteran, And He Told Me What Should Be Valued In Life.

Last week I interviewed a family member of his time in the Vietnam war as a Patoon leader. He was only twenty years old and served from 1969-1970. To be honest, it has been years since I remember what I learned in high school history on the Vietnam War. I am glad I met with my family member and able to hear his experience and personal feelings of serving. He said that he lead a group of fifty men (squad), and their motto was "You've got my back and I've got yours." They were located near a small village, and living arrangements were practically nonextistent. Civilians, children and adults alike were respectful to him and his army peers, following them around and would be quite curious of their lives. He informed me of how PTSD was such a hyped up thing with Vietnam Veterans, coming home from the war. PTSD, he claims, isn't really a (severe) disorder, and that everyone experiences levels of stress, it's just how people handle their situations and stress itself that really matters. He emphasized that without the veterans, Vietnam (and other Asian countries) would still be a communist country today. For the longest time, he didn't talk to anyone about his experience about being a Vietnam veteran, and really the only ones who 'get' what he went through is another combat veteran (one who has served in the same war). We got onto the topic of how times are different today, how the media can be so negative and influential (of course this is a known to many anyways), and how the youth of today have changed. He learned some of the best lessons in life as a Patoon Leader; teamwork, commitment, work ethic, and petty differences were put aside, but the men he got to know were focused on working together as a team, being there for each other, and not focusing on differences (race, social/economic status, religious/education affiliation). In his opinion, he feels that in the states, Americans can not seem to even get along on their own soil, and the government does it's best to divide people, instead of protecting and thinking of everyone's best interests. He despises radical groups (both left and right sided), and they seem to be nothing but full of people with a lot of hate towards others. He claims the youth of today don't have much respect for their elders, not as disciplined (compared to his times as a young twenty something guy), and their relationships have become replaced by social networking sites, text messaging, and video games/technology, and don't want to spend time with each other, but with technology. He did say a positive of today's youth are that they are more open minded in general, and are more adventurous (taking trips overseas), and have more resources to connect and understand people from other countries/cultures. For him, the people who best influenced him and were positive role models in his life, were his grandfather/dad, as they both taught him responsibility and to learn from his own mistakes growing up. Another thing he mentioned was how many people have had negative feelings towards Vietnam veterans, but blames this mainly on the media and press for their misinformation. He also feels that there seems to be more positive support for troops and soldiers today. He gave me a book to read, "Stolen Valor." Although many opinions were expressed in this experience from my family member, I am still thankful to him, as well as all the other veterans who served for their country and helping others have the right to freedom.
Belinda Belinda
31-35, F
2 Responses Aug 2, 2010

Thank you for your memories

viet nam had many different wars going on at the same time<br />
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when i was there in 1966/ 1967 most service branches could not return fire if fired upon<br />
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the US guns were trash which is why so many carried the ak 47s the bad part was a few tile we saw different patrols shoting at each other claim they were taking VC fire<br />
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me i was the 3rd type war

Very interesting, thanks for sharing.