The Vietnam Generation is beginning to fade…

The Vietnam Generation of an estimated 8 million military service members of the Vietnam era, 1964-1975, is fading.

Unlike the veterans of WWII, the Vietnam Generation “aren’t going to be around a long time, not like their fathers.” Soldiers of WWII had closure; they arrived home as heroes. Not so for their sons; their desire and hope to return home alive, to the country that they loved and fought for was met with hate and ridicule.

“For the Vietnam vet, there was never an end point, psychologically,” Wilson said. “So the impact of war continued long after the shooting stopped.”

For over forty years, the Vietnam Generation has suffered, and many in silence. Now, as the visage of this era pass away it is a bittersweet testimony, of our nation, our history and our servicemen/women.

“It’s not a good feeling” watching them pass, Vasil said. “It’s an emotional numbing, almost the same as the combat experience. The only way to survive is to become numb, because you feel so helpless.”

According to the article (2010), in the past three years “…the number of Vietnam vets seeking treatment from the VA has gone up 25 percent nationally, about 10 percent locally, and the largest category of that treatment is for post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Dr. Edgardo Padin-Rivera, chief of psychological services at the Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center.”

Vietnam veterans are reaching a point in their lives where they may be retired, losing the past support systems of family and friends, susceptible to depression and prime candidates for late-onset PTSD, Padin-Rivera said.

 

…As an increasing number of Vietnam vets make that final march, some look back on what their generation is leaving behind.

 

Their legacy.

 

To Carter, it’s difficult looking back. “Sometimes the thing that distresses me most is that we put forth all that effort and it seems like nobody appreciated it,” he said.

 

“We championed the PTSD issue, the Agent Orange issue and the POW/MIA issue,” he said. “You can change things. But you have to be willing to work at it.”

 

On a personal level, he said the experience “made me a much stronger person, a more caring person and opened my eyes to the horrors of war.

 

It’s not all Hollywood crap. It’s a very scary, horrible place to be.

 

“But if you can survive that,” he added, “you can survive anything.”

 

Except time.


IMAGE: Fast Patrol Crafts (PCF, Swift boat) operating up a river in Vietnam, in background Monitors and Landing Crafts, late 1960s, Naval War College Museum, USN, public domain, used with permission.

Article Source: Cleveland.com: “Vietnam generation begins to fade as death rate rises for war’s veterans” by Brian Albrecht


NAM, The Story of a Generation Synopsis

NAM, The Story of a Generation is a tale of times that defined a generation: the counter culture that grew out of it; commitment without conscience; love in impossible circumstances; the unimaginable horror of war; healing hope; and renewal. The Vietnam War is the common thread that binds together the lives and fortunes of the three main characters who are NAM, The Story of a Generation.

August 16, 1948, the day Babe Ruth died, sixteen-year old Le Van Dat, a young Vietnamese patriot, leaves to join Ho Chi Minh’s Vietminh. On the same day, Mark Cameron and JT Johnson are born into very different circumstances in the United States.

Le Van Dat is a nationalist and follower of Confucius. His consuming, idealistic drive to free his country of a thousand years of foreign occupation is fueled by a sense of personal honor and obligation to his ancestors. Though he disdains communism, Le Van Dat will rise to the rank of general in the People’s Army largely through his courage, inspiring leadership and the support of his superior officer and mentor, Tran Van Minh. Dat is intimately involved in the war’s biggest battles and carries the conflict from the novel’s first pages. His affair and infatuation with Nu Chi, a young South Vietnamese with connections to her own government, sparks a fundamental change in Dat that leads to a harrowing search and improbable resolution as the South crumbles in the spring of 1975.

 

Mark Cameron is a Montanan born into a rough neighborhood on the edge of town. He is a tough little guy who, as a young teen, finds his personality altered after a savage beating from a bully. Growing into manhood he becomes obsessed with avoiding conflict and adopts conniving ways of keeping himself out of trouble. Entering college, he is swept up by the early resistance to the Vietnam War, even though he had already joined the Naval Reserve as a high school senior. Mark enters active duty following his freshman year and meets JT Johnson at the Treasure Island Naval Station.

JT Johnson is the son of an ambitious entrepreneur who builds a golf course in Fullerton, California following World War II. JT is seen as the prodigy; the son who will live the father’s dream and become a golfing legend. Indeed, JT is a gifted athlete and excels as a youngster, winning prestigious amateur tournaments. Rich, privileged, and well-connected, Jay’s father tells the boy he will never have to serve in the military. But when JT flunks out of college, the head of the local Draft Board, a prominent antagonist of the family, arranges for JT’s draft induction. Jay’s father steers him to the Naval Reserve, thinking it the safest option. But JT is a man of action and talks Mark Cameron into volunteering with him for River Patrol Boat duty, the most hazardous river duty in Vietnam.

The death of close friends haunts Mark during his tour and for years following as he copes with his own physical and mental wounds in a society that does not want to hear his story or recognize his sacrifices. He is ultimately saved by the friendship of a Vietnam Veteran double-amputee and the love of a special woman.

THE VIETNAM WAR, Film by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick

Sunday September 17, 2017 at 8/7c.

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s ten-part, 18-hour documentary series, THE VIETNAM WAR, tells the epic story of one of the most consequential, divisive, and controversial events in American history as it has never before been told on film. Visceral and immersive, the series explores the human dimensions of the war through revelatory testimony of nearly 80 witnesses from all sides—Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as combatants and civilians from North and South Vietnam.

Ten years in the making, the series includes rarely seen and digitally re-mastered archival footage from sources around the globe, photographs taken by some of the most celebrated photojournalists of the 20th Century, historic television broadcasts, evocative home movies, and secret audio recordings from inside the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations. THE VIETNAM WAR features more than 100 iconic musical recordings from greatest artists of the era and haunting original music from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross as well as the Silk Road Ensemble featuring Yo-Yo Ma.

Get an advance look at the film below; featuring interviews with filmmakers, behind-the-scenes footage and exclusive clips from the series.

#VietnamWarPBS

source: PBS