A Son Writes Home: Analyzing Letters of a Vietnam War Soldier

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A Son Writes Home

The Vietnam War was a very controversial war in American history. The War was infamously known as being a War supported by few if even any Americans. Many people lost their lives fighting in this war, and the people that survived are left with mental scars from the War. Most troops wrote letters home (America) detailing the events that were occurring in Vietnam. These letters allow us the readers to gain insight to a very honest detail of the events occurring in Vietnam.

DB Post and Response

3. Jeff Rogers enlisted in the navy after a year at Harvard Medical because he realized he no longer wanted to be a doctor. “In America in 1968, any young man who left school was likely to be drafted in the army” (265), so it was either enlist or be drafted. Jeff Rogers’ father, William Rogers, was Secretary of State and had also served in World War II which might have influenced him to enlist instead of wait to be drafted.

4. Nixon’s Vietnamization policy was a policy brought forth “to advocate a withdrawal from Vietnam” (267). Vietnamization Policy was a combined effort of Secretary of Defense, Melvin Laird, and Secretary of State, William Rogers. The two men were focused on a peaceful retreat from Vietnam. The Vietnamization Policy “meant training and equipping the Army of the Republic of [South] Vietnam to wage its own war for an independent democracy against the Democratic Republic of [North] Vietnam. In reality, Vietnamization meant replacing American casualties with South Vietnamese casualties” (267). The Vietnamization Policy was desired by many Americans, they shared common feelings that America should have less involvement in the Vietnam War.

8. Our text describes that, “the great advantage of letters is their immediacy” (268). Letters allow us as readers to see what the author was thinking as well as feeling while they were writing the letter. “Letters also give us the author’s “voice” through their use of language, level of formality or informality, and general mode of self-presentation” (269). The personal letters written by individuals experiencing the war allow us to feel and understand what the author was feeling at that moment. The letters give great insight as to what events are happening around the author and how they feel about those events. Our text explains how, “Letters capture human beings in the messy midst of life, when we are part of history, not looking back on it…letters give us an honesty and authenticity about what the war felt like in the moment” (268). Letters became an important source during the Vietnam War and now because of all the misinterpretations that occurred. The American people as well as the service men and women were lead to believe different situations or occurrences than what actually occurred. Letters are honest and truthful accounts that the authors experienced.

Question #2

Rogers’ opinion on the Vietnamese people was that they should have been fighting the Vietnam War, and not the Americans. Rogers describes in Letter 7, “ The longer I’m over here, the more I think we should get out quickly, almost no matter how. Even an initial small unilateral withdrawal might both demonstrate our ultimate peace goal and scare the South Vietnamese into doing a little more for themselves” (280). Rogers’ letters seem to increasingly doubt the Vietnam War the longer he served in Vietnam. Rogers explains in his letters that the misinterpretations confuse him and really have him question why America is in Vietnam.

Analyzing Letters 5-8

Letter 5

This letter was written February 18, 1969 to Rogers’ Parents. The letter starts by explaining how bored he truly is at sea and then continues to talk about politics. Rogers writes good reviews on Nixon, “seems like Nixon is doing a good job so far. I’ve heard only positive comments” (278). He then continues to write about his doubts and concerns for the his future, concerning a job. This letter really has no...
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