Since Ken Burns released his newest documentary about the Vietnam War I have been following it up with some historic perspectives on the war.
I fought my way through 21/2 years in Vietnam and when I returned back to the US I became a staunch anti-war protester.
Over the years I have had many discussions with others about that war….some served others did not…..at one time some older gentleman told me that I need to apologize to the country for my activism.
I was taken aback and asked why should I apologize?
He told me that it was people like me that tore the country apart with all the protests to the point that the country was weakened by all the division.
My first reaction was…..BITE ME!
I said that I had nothing to apologize for and that he, a supporter of the war, should do it more than I. Support sending in children to fight a bloody war that was NEVER meant to be won.
This event from my past came to m ind after I read a piece on Common Dreams…..
How many times have you heard, or even said yourself, something like this:
It was beyond cruel what was done to Viet Nam vets. I protested the war but not the soldiers who’d been thru hell.
That’s a comment made on my Facebook page when I posted Jerry Lembcke’s very insightful review of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s series, The Vietnam War. Lembcke points out that the series promotes the established narrative that for Vietnam vets, the experience of coming home to a “hostile” public was “more traumatic than the war itself.” As I will discuss here, Lembcke, a Vietnam veteran and Associate Professor Emeritus at Holy Cross College, has dedicated much of his life to countering and disproving that narrative.
Now take a close look at the above statement. I protested the war but not the soldiers who’d been thru hell. The implication is, of course, that while this person didn’t do it, others must have “protested the soldiers,” referring to the ubiquitous stories of soldiers and veterans being harassed, hounded, called baby killers and spat on by a variety of protesters and, as the stories usually go, “long haired hippies.” Actually, this particular comment was part of a string of responses to someone who claimed he was “urinated on while in uniform.”
In hindsight I still see NO reason for me to apologize…I did what I felt is morally right.