The stories of Vietnam veterans coming home reveal how
bitterly divided the country was. Some veterans were belittled by
people who referred to them as ‘baby-killers’ or ‘crazy Vietnam vets.’
It was common that even family and friends did not want to talk about the
war with them, and when they did, they brought it up in a very negative manner.
Some veterans feel they were stereotyped during and after the war, especially
the stereotype concerning drugs and alcohol. However, some veterans
feel that the Vietnam veteran’s image has improved throughout the years
because the veterans took care of each other (i.e. building the Wall).
In my own experience in my Vietnam Literature class, many veterans experienced
guilt and other hardships after returning home from Vietnam.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
There are many and varied health problems suffered by
Vietnam veterans as a direct result from their service in the war.
focuses on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The trauma that caused
PTSD came from the constant stress of combat, but the social alienation
of Vietnam veterans, ostracized by the community instead of being welcomed
home, has contributed to the problems of PTSD.
VVA—Vietnam Veterans of America
Founded in 1978, VVA is the only national Vietnam veterans
organization congressionally chartered and exclusively dedicated to Vietnam
era veterans and their families. One of their goals is to create a
new identity for this generation of veterans. T learn all about the
VVA, go to http://www.vva.org/
Here, you can explore the history
of the VVA, as well as their purpose, accomplishments, resolutions, membership
information, meetings, special events, and much more.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall Page
is a page dedicated to honoring those who died in the Vietnam war, and it
is also very special to those today who fought in Vietnam. The Wall
itself is located in Washington, DC. This site includes a photo gallery,
literary section (with poetry, short stories, etc. all pertaining to Vietnam),
statistics, and an area where you can type a name in to locate it on the
Vietnam War Timeline and Background Information
To put Vietnam in its proper perspective, it is necessary
to understand that the US Military was not defeated in Vietnam and that
the South Vietnamese government did not collapse due to mismanagement or
corruption, nor was it overthrown by revolutionary guerrillas running around
in rubber tire sandals, wearing black pajamas and carrying home made weapons.
There was no “general uprising” or “revolt” by the southern population.
A conventional army made up of seventeen conventional divisions, organized
into four army corps, overran Saigon. This totally conventional force
(armed, equipped, trained and supplied by the Soviet Union) launched a cross
border, frontal attack on South Vietnam and conquered it, in the same manner
as Hitler conquered most of Europe in WWII. A quick synopsis of America’s
“Vietnam experience” will help summarize and clarify the Vietnam scenario:
- Prior to 1965: US Advisors and AID only
- 1965-67: buildup of US Forces and heavy fighting to counter Communist
North Vietnamese invasion
- 1968-70: 90% of the towns and villages in South Vietnam were
free from Communist domination. In 1969, Nixon started troop withdrawals
- Dec. 1972: Paris Peace Agreements negotiated and agreed by
North Vietnam, South Vietnam, the Southern Vietnamese Communists and the
- Jan. 1973: all four parties formally sign Paris Peace Agreements
- Mar. 1973: last US POW released from Hanoi Hilton and last
American GI leaves Vietnam
- Aug. 1973: US Congress passes the Case-Church law which forbids:
US naval forces from sailing on the seas surrounding, US ground forces from
operation on the land of, and US air forces from flying the air over South
Vietnam, North Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
- Aug. 1974: Nixon resigns
- Dec. 1974: North Vietnamese invade South Vietnamese Province
of Phouc Long located north of Saigon
- Jan. 1975: North Vietnamese capture Phuoc Long provincial capitol
of Phuoc Binh. Sit and wait for US reaction. No reaction.
- Mar. 1975: North Vietnam mounts full-scale invasion.
17 North Vietnamese conventional divisions were formed into 4 conventional
army corps and launched a wholly conventional cross-border, frontal-attack.
Then, using the age-old tactics of
mass and maneuver, they defeated the South Vietnamese Army in detail.
For a more in-depth timeline, click on http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/vietnam/timeline.htm
Vietnam War Statistics
For statistics about the Vietnam War, click on http://www.no-quarter.org/html/jake.html
You will find statistics covering just about everything, such as race and
ethnic background, honorable service (did you know that 66% of Vietnam vets
say they would serve again if called upon), winning and losing (did you
know that 82% of veterans who saw heavy combat strongly believe the war
was lost because of lack of political will?), socio-economic status, casualties,
draftees vs. volunteers, etc.