Battle for Hue: Tet, 1968

Battle for Hue: Tet, 1968

Battle for Hue: Tet, 1968

Battle for Hue: Tet, 1968

Excerpt

If it had been a popular war like our involvement in World War II, the Battle for Hue would today still be a familiar name. More importantly, the men who survived to return home would have been greeted as heroes; those who had fallen would have been remembered. But that was not to be. Those Americans who fought in Hue became part of the unfortunate generation whose own nation could not separate the war from the warriors, who were shunned for not turning their back on the job at hand. However unpopular the Vietnam War, the American people seemed to forget that their soldiers were enduring the same hardships and privations as their much-praised forerunners in World War II. The Battle of Hue was a focal point of those hardships-a brutal, month-long, house-to-house battle fought, primarily, by three understrength U.S. Marine infantry battalions.

I was three years old when the Marines were fighting in Hue. When I was growing up, the Vietnam War was some vague, distant thing which was treated like a dirty word. It was this silence — compounded by the flip remarks of my liberal teachers in school about My Lai, drug addicts, and psychotic Vietnam veterans — which sparked my interest in the subject. It bothered me that so many of our countrymen could have suffered so greatly, and so few care about it. It bothered me that those who deserted to Canada and elsewhere were lauded for their humanity, while those who didn't run, but faced the year of hell in Vietnam were dismissed as baby-killers, junkies, and suckers. I began to research the subject and I went to the only source that really mattered, the men who were there.

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