“A Vietnam Veteran Opposes the War, 1971”
In 1971, veteran John Kerry stands for himself and many other veterans in a speech opposing the Vietnam War. Relaying how the veterans feel after coming back from such a horrific war, the audience is sympathetic with those who return with such terrible memories that they must bare for the rest of their lives. For John Kerry, it may be hard for him to describe such atrocities to his audience, and it may be even harder for the audience to believe that what he is saying is truthful, because what was going on in Vietnam at the time was much different than what the citizens of the USA believed it to be. For them, knowing the truths of the Vietnam War may simply put them in denial, however I believe Kerry’s descriptions were effective in convincing the audience of the truths of the war, because he conveys his truths by appealing to the audience’s pathos.
The speech begins with John Kerry speaking on behalf of a large group of veterans. Describing the “war crimes” that they committed in Southeast Asia, a disgusting picture is painted of “cut off limbs, blown up bodies, [and] randomly shot at civilians” (23). To the American Citizen, it would be hard to imagine that this was what the young soldiers were doing in Southeast Asia at the time; Even harder to believe. However, when he speaks of how the young men feel upon their return, the truth of what he is saying becomes apparent. “The country doesn’t know it yet but it has created a monster, a monster in the form of millions of men who have been taught to deal and to trade in violence and who are given the chance to die for the biggest nothing in history; men who have returned with a sense of anger and a sense of betrayal which no one has yet grasped” (24). For the mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers whom have sent one of their own to live in such conditions, this would be such a shock that denial may be imminent. And for the...