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Essay/Term paper: Vietnam

Essay, term paper, research paper:  American History

Free essays available online are good but they will not follow the guidelines of your particular writing assignment. If you need a custom term paper on American History: Vietnam, you can hire a professional writer here to write you a high quality authentic essay. While free essays can be traced by Turnitin (plagiarism detection program), our custom written essays will pass any plagiarism test. Our writing service will save you time and grade.

The trials and tribulations the soldiers faced at home were

far worse than any battle they fought while in Vietnam. No

one seemed to fully understand what these men had went

through. They came home looking for love and comfort;

little did they know that they had not yet experienced the

worst of the war.

A numerous amount of people were for the war, but the

reality was, many were against it. " During 1967 public

support for the war dropped sharply. By October approval

of Johnson"s handling of the war dropped to 28%. A

number of major metropolitan newspapers shifted from

supporting the war to opposing it" (Wexler 145 ). Once the

public realized that the war wasn"t all glory, they regretted

the country"s involvement.

The government wasn"t exactly the most reliable source of

information during the war. They couldn"t be counted on

when they were needed most. The government"s handling

of aid for veteran"s seemed to be carelessly handled.

Veterans were treated poorly and promises were broken


The majority of the American population had no clue that

the government was hiding information about POWs. "

From September 1973 to March 1974, a series of

unrelated witnesses reported the movement of nine POWs

between two Laotian prison camps" ( Sauter 189 ). Similar

accounts of American prisoners" sightings were hidden

from the public.

Ron Kovic was not a prisoner of war. Instead he was sent

home after being wounded. His return home was originally

fine; everything he thought it would be. Yet he did not

receive the welcome he had hoped for. Many resented him.

He received blank stares and vicious glares. even his own

brother was against the war. His family was baffled by the

pessimistic view towards life that he had picked up along

the way.

In Born on the Fourth of July, Ron Kovic often

mentioned that the veterans" hospitals were torture

chambers. " It is easy to lose it all here. The whole place

functions smoothly, but somewhere along the way I am

losing, and the rest of the people whom I can"t see in the

rooms around me are losing too. Even if I heal this leg, I

will lose. No one ever leaves this place without losing" (

Kovic 129 ). He felt this way, because he had seen the

reality of the war, and he was appalled by the treatment the

men received. Even after they had fought for their country

and risked their lives, they realized they hadn"t made much

progress, and they were only losing what the dignity and life

they had left.

Ronnie suffered a paralyzing injury in Vietnam. He was

numb from the waist down. He would never walk again.

He would spend the remainder of his life stuck in a

wheelchair, and it hurt him because it was a constant

reminder of the war and of his sacrifice that no one noticed.

Ronnie struggled most with his conscience when he killed

innocent people, like the captain. " The chaplain had a

memorial service that afternoon for a man he had killed and

he sat in the tent with the rest of the men. There was a wife

and a kid, someone said" ( Kovic 194 ). For years Ronny

felt extremely guilty for killing the soldier. He had tried

desperately to confess and apologized to his wife and child,

but their hearts could not pardon him.

Ronnie felt desperate. He felt he had no use in the world

because he could not use his legs. Before the war he was

known for his athleticism. After the war, he had no choice,

but to rely on his heart and mind , and that was something

he wasn"t sure how to do. To express his thoughts and

feelings was almost unheard of.

The emotional impact on all of the veterans was a horrid

one. " Being trapped seeing someone blown to pieces, his

blood ad splinters of bones and insides and brains all over

you is outside the range of usual human experience" (

Mason 23 ). Many veterans had psychological problems

and suffered from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, which is a

psychological disorder affecting individuals who have

experienced profound emotional shock, such as torture or

rape, characterized by periodic flashbacks of the traumatic

event, nightmares, eating disorders, anxiety, fatigue,

amnesia, and social withdrawal.

Many veterans could not cope with coming back to a

changed America, and as a result they turned to drugs and

alcohol. This abuse and change in attitude left many

veterans jobless and some even homeless. They probably

had no idea that their lives would not be back to normal

once they returned home.

Ron"s paralysis in his legs had an immense impact on his

life. His lack of mobility kept him from doing all sorts of

things he had dreamed of doing. He would never be a

professional baseball player or even be able to run again.

He best described the effect his "new" body had on him

when he wrote, " I feel like a bog clumsy puppet with all his

strings cut. I learn to balance and twist in the chair so no

one can tell how much of me does not feel or move

anymore. I find it easy to hide from most of them what I am

going through. All of us are like this. No one wants too

many people to know how much of him has really died in

the war" ( Kovic 37 ). He could no longer perform the

everyday actions that most people took for granted.

Ron"s change in his attitude toward the war was bitter and

aggressive. He resented the government and all people who

supported the war. What had Ron become? He used to be

an All-American boy. Characterized by his intense love for

his country; his patriotism exuded in everything he did.

However, once he realized how naive he"d been about war

in general, he learned to hate it. He"d lecture to families and

children not to enlist for the war, because they might not

come back how they had dreamed. They might come back

like him, or not even come back at all.

A few choice veterans overcame the adversity, but despite

the few gains made by Vietnam vets, in many situations,

public perspectives toward the veterans had taken up the

enemy"s bullets left off. Instead, they had bullets of hatred

and rancor shot at them. Their lives were never the same.

Kovic, Ron. Born on the Fourth of July. New York:

McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1976.

Mason, Patience H. C. Recovering from the War. New

York: Penguin Books, 1990.

Saunders, Jim, and Mark Sauter. The Men We Left

Behind. Bethesda: Saunders and Sauter,


Wexler, Sanford. An Eyewitness History: The Vietnam

War. New York: Wexler, 1992


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