WAR AND HEALING: A VIETNAM TRILOGY
And then came an amazing series of events. In the decade after my return from a peacetime Vietnam, 1989, circumstances conspired to form the backdrop for an evolution of my understanding about the longer-term impact of war and healing — and my willingness to consider returning to Vietnam yet again.
There was a profound impact of the Persian Gulf War on Vietnam and other war veterans, dredging up long-buried hurts. Dave Roberts verbalized this quite vividly.
We came home one by one, just like mortar rounds, just dropping in all over Amer-
ica. One by one, with absolutely no help or understanding! Random hits, but no
help! They trained us psychologically, but can you still train that dog to do new
tricks! Oh, to live happy. You have that family of brothers in Vietnam always in your
thoughts. But, you left them there in Vietnam, kind of like a divorce, forever!
Divorce from war/trauma/life/pain/hurt/death/loneliness. A void that sucks on your
life’s blood. To come from Hell and walk in to an American Party; but make sure you
check your mind at the door! 142
There was the discovery that critical lessons learned during the Vietnam War concerning evacuation of medical and psychiatric casualties from a war zone had been forgotten.
There was the discovery that the powerful collusion and sanitization about the true and full impact of war was resurrected.
142. Personal communication, June 25, 2004.