The Vietnam War on My Homefront

The Vietnam War on My Homefront

Many tales have been told about Vietnam and the battles fought. But a great many things happened, here, back on the homefront that many people never hear. This is a personal story of the events during the Vietnam era that I recall as a teen.

I was born waaaaaay back in 1951. It was a time of peace. WW2 had ended 7 years earlier and it was a good time to be an American. My father was a veteran. He was in the Army and had fought in the Battle of the Bulge. It was a time for family and growth. The first president I remember as a child was Dwight Eisenhower. He was a war hero and everyone remembered that if nothing else about him. I did all the things a chld did and grew up in a good home with lots of love. I remember how the world was shocked when John F. Kennedy was shot. I was in 7th grade and was returning to class after lunch when I heard the news. Everyone was shocked and the world for us stood still for a time. It seems, for me, at least that this was the catalyst for many events. The sixties were in full swing, and young people started looking at the news and looking at the events happening in the world.

For me, the Vietnam War didnt become a reality till I was in high school and saw many of the young men in my school receive their draft notices. When I was 15 I met a great guy who was 19 and had just received his notice too. We began dating and in the fall of 1967 he was called to go to active service and Viet Nam.

It was then that I began to really sit up and take notice. In September, we drove him to the airport and said good bye, wondering if we would see him again. My days were filled with letter writing and reading the paper and watching the news. The thngs I saw were appalling. Not just the news of Vietnam, but the news of the events happening right here in America. People were protesting the intervention of The United States. This in itself wasnt bad but a lot of the focus was on the soldiers and military personnell themselves. They were called babykillers and murderers. The average age of these men was 19.

I was 16 at this point and stayed involved with my boyfriend's family. It was through them that I learned about his best friend, Peter. He had been killed in action. He had an identical twin brother, Paul, that was also in Vietnam but was brought home. Paul couldnt handle the death of his brother well. He had a burning desire to return to Vietnam to avenge his brothers death. He finally returned a few months later and came home with both of his legs and his right arm missing. Reality hit me like a ton of bricks. My girlfriends and I spent a lot of nights hanging around together sharing what was going on in the war. Their boyfriends were all serving too. We wrote till our fingers ached and continued to read and watch the news like hawks.

My boyfriend's father became very ill and had to have surgery. He was dying and wanted to see his only child home and safe. It was his greatest wish. He slipped into a coma. It was different because he could move and all but couldnt respond to us and was unconcious. He needed constant care that his family couldnt afford. I spend my time as a 16 yr old sophomore writing letters to my boyfriend in vietnam and sitting with his sick father so that he didnt injure himself. Needless to say, I had to grow up fast. He got very bad and we contacted the Red Cross to see if they could help him to see his father before he died. His mother was a basket case at this time and it was left to me, a 16 yr old to do what I could. Thank God for my own mother who wrote to Congressman Tom Tauke and he intervened. My boyfriend eventually was brought home to see his father and take care of his mother. He was stationed near home because the family was suffering so bad financially from the medical expenses that he was needed to support them. Being an only child didnt offer options for them.

His father's wish came true. His son was home and safe. He came through the illness for a while and got to see his son. But within a year, he died. The war continued and the protesters became more vocal. One day when reading the news I was shocked to see the following:

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