For Vietnam Vets, on this 2019 Memorial Day, the realization that many vets
from Vietnam really were hurting upon their homecoming, after service
to their country. It was not a pleasant homecoming, compared to previous
wars. The protests, the television coverage of the body count, the presidential
change of guards, and a long, dragged out Vietcong fight never seemed to end.
In 1975 a truce. VA says Vietnam covers 1955-75 conflict. Began with the French.
Today Vietnam thrives. The fall of Saigon is but a memory and an historical fact.
No longer a colonial power reigns.
How the Vietnam Vets, whether in combat, on a ship, offshore or as a #BlueWaterVets,or in a Ken Burns PBS documentary — the homecoming was unwelcoming, even bitter, and stories and pain became hidden. Nightmares and unemployment and civilian society was uncivil. Relationships broken. Agent Orange was not apparent at first. Although exposure to mustard gas in the WWII was known — the mixed herbicide of Agent Orange toxins developed as the homecoming in 1975 end to the war caused disabilities. Exposure to this deadly toxin caused neurological damage and mobility issues.
How to function after war without a support system? Who would understand, even care?
Today there are many more Vietnam service organizations to help. Suicide is still high with Vietnam and post-Vietnam era, but these orgs like VFW, DVA, Legion, expanded and become more real to the issues vets were facing, both men and women. Being supportive helps heal. A recent PBS documentary showed Native Americans evolved in healing war memories in their native ceremonies, after many years of not being accepted again — the healing took much longer for Vietnam Vets, in my belief, because they were not supported upon their homecoming. It was a tumultuous era, for civil rights, women’s rights, and anti-war protests added fuel to the dissent. Folk music protests. Drugs were readily available: psychedelics. LSD. Acid trips.
Homecoming is crucial to any war veteran. From a military station to a civilian train station could be a long train ride. — njvm Memorial Day 2019.