How Did the Vietnam War Affect the Veterans and Their Families?

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How Did the Vietnam War Affect the Veterans and Their Families?

By | August 2007
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Just imagine you went to war, having killed people, seeing friends and enemies die, and living in fear of dying yourself. Think about how you must have felt if you had to sneak your way back into our country, with nothing said and you had to just pretend nothing happened and start all over. For many veterans, returning home has been a distressing and apprehensive experience.

Even though the veterans were trained for the intensity of the duties, the training may have not prepared them for the emotional impact of the events. Assimilating back into civilian life was a big step. The veterans felt they had done the job the government asked them to do and now they, not the government, were taking the blame for it. Despite all of this, the Vietnam War has affected veterans and their families to an extent where several have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Even today, after more than 30 years, the after-effects of the Vietnam War, still remain. Subsequently after the veterans returned, some of the men desperately wanted to talk to someone about what they¡¦d been through, but they were hardly ever asked due to the unpopularity of the war. Those that were, often struggled to find the words. Besides, how could anyone who hadn¡¦t been there understood what they¡¦d seen and felt?

What was upsetting for the men, was that some World War veterans dismissed them, telling them they didn¡¦t know what it was like to fight in a ¡§real war¡¨. For most, it was an incomprehensible experience. As quoted in 1969 by Bill Dobell, a veteran from the Australian infantry, ¡§I looked at my grandfather, and he sort of looked at me, and then looked away. He had served in the 1st World War...and he¡¦s never told me much about it, but from what I can gather he saw quite a bit of action. I think I looked to him as if to say, ¡¥Well, what should I do? You ought to know.¡¦ But then he wouldn¡¦t know any better than I do.¡¨

Traumatic events such as seeing a helicopter have...