The Impact Of Vietnam War On Vietnam Veterans

Pages: 3 (601 words) / Published: Apr 17th, 2017
The Vietnam War had a big impact on New Zealand war veterans.
Between 1964-1972, there was about 4,000 young New Zealanders who had volunteered to service in Vietnam, they were wanting to get out into the world and do something exciting but the thrills of war were soon replaced by the gruesome reality. Things got worse when they finally returned home as they came to face an angry public and were told to get out of their uniform quickly and not to tell anyone where they had been. The full impact of the Vietnam war on the veterans took years to show and research now shows that the emotional and psychological impact of war trauma can be passed down through generations. There was only one official national homecoming parade for the New Zealand Veterans which was held in Auckland in 1971 on the withdrawal of 161 Battery, RNZA and 4 Troops NZSAS but this got interrupted by anti-war protesters.
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David Grant was one of the veterans who found it ‘galling’ to come home with the cover of darkness and without their uniform so that they wouldn’t attract too much attention. The absence of a formal welcome home caused the veterans to organise their own welcome home parade in 1998 and a decade after this happened the government followed with the closing of central wellington streets to offer veterans and their families an ‘honour march’ which was followed by a Crown apology by the Prime Minister and former anti-war movement leader Helen Clark. This event ended up marking a significant shift in attitude and understanding for the Vietnam veterans, who are now classed as the most visible group of returned New Zealand

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