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Vietnam stories prevent healing for U.S. soldiers

Thursday, October 23, 2003

To the editor:

Why would you print the Oct. 20 Associated Press article, "Elite force killed hundreds in Vietnam"? It has been 30 years since we left Vietnam and 34 years since I was there.

Yes, stuff happened that should not have happened. Our country was torn apart during those years. U.S. soldiers didn't have a choice about being there, and we didn't have a choice about the orders we were given. Many of us were drafted, and many times courts gave certain law violators a choice of military service or jail. Approximately 2.7 million Americans served in Vietnam. More than 58,000 American died. Many Vietnam veterans returned home to suffer from a high divorce rate, drug abuse, suicide, involvement in violent crimes and joblessness.

Death was all around us in Vietnam. Many of us saw our best friend's brains blown out and bodies ripped apart. Most of us did what we had to do to stay alive. Is it any wonder that the taste of revenge would be sweet to some? It was difficult to determine who the enemy was. Many would argue that the real enemy was the 6 o'clock news and the press. Apparently, nothing has changed.

Most of us would like to forget about Vietnam. What is the point of bringing this up 30 years later? It seemed like for a while that our country was starting to heal. But newspaper people who print articles like that one are never going to let healing occur.

BILL HUMPHRIES

Cape Girardeau