VOICES FROM VIETNAM: Reflecting at the Wall

The voices we hear are those who were sent to Vietnam to fight in a war far from home. Some volunteered, some volunteered because they knew their draft was inevitable and wanted some control over where they would go, and some were drafted against their will. Their young lives were changed dramatically by the experience of suddenly finding themselves in a war zone with a ruthless enemy trying to kill them in a new form of guerrilla war. They were also armed and expected to kill the enemy, even though they had been told that killing another human being was wrong; a moral injury as one veteran calls it. The fear of death was an everyday emotion and in this hot sweaty, confusing, and alien environment, these soldiers became close to each other; they became brothers. 

These voices recount personal experiences and recollections of being in that environment. But their pain and anxiety didn't end there. The veterans looked forward to their DEROS (Date Eligible Return from Over Seas)—arriving and returning home—but when they landed back in the USA, they found many protestors waiting at airports and in the streets spitting and hurling objects and abuse at them. There was no ticker-tape parade or march down Main street for them; veterans were told to get rid of their uniforms and keep a low profile. 

For many, no one said “welcome home” to them until a few years ago. Some never revealed to their families anything at all about their experience in Vietnam. As filmmakers, we were honored that for some of these veterans, we were the first people to hear their stories; the veterans all wanted their stories and the stories of the 508,307 silent voices listed on the “Wall that Heals” to be told. The pain of those experiences from over 50 years ago remain with many today and are described in some detail by those in this film. 

Produced by Modos Media in association with Zero Gravity. Presented by South Carolina ETV and distributed by NETA.