Vietnam
1968

We were soldiers once...
and young.

"Many of our countrymen came to hate the war we fought.  Those who hated it the most - the professionally sensitive - were not, in the end, sensitive enough to differentiate between the war and the soldiers who had been ordered to fight it.  They hated us as well, and we went to the ground in the cross fire, as we had learned in the jungles.
  In time our battles were forgotten, our sacrifices were discounted, and both our sanity and our suitability for life in polite American society were publicly questioned.  Our young-old faces, chiseled and gaunt from the fever and the heat and the sleepless nights, now stare back at us, lost and damned strangers, frozen in yellowing snapshots packed away in cardboard boxes with our medals and ribbons.
 We rebuilt our lives, found jobs or professions, married, raised families, and waited patiently for America to come to its senses. 
Chuck - Long Binh, Vietnam, 1968 and at home in Jacksonville, Florida, 2002.  

   As the years passed we searched each other out and found that the half-remembered pride of service was shared by those who had shared everything else with us.  With them, and only them, could we talk about what had really happened over there - what we had seen, what we had done, what we had survived.
    We knew what Vietnam had been like, and how we looked and acted and talked and smelled.  No one in America did.  Hollywood got it wrong every damned time, whetting twisted political knives on the bones of our dead brothers.
    When it was over the dead did not get up and dust themselves off and walk away.  The wounded did not wash away the red and go on with life, unhurt.  Those who were, miraculously, unscratched were by no means untouched.  Not one of us left Vietnam the same young man he was when he arrived.
    For we were soldiers once... and young."
 

Read "Grenade" - an original short story based on true incidents at the 935th Medical Detachment, a psychiatric facility at Long Binh, Vietnam.
 
 

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Introductory text from We Were Soldiers Once... and Young, by Lt. General Harold G. Moore (Ret.) and Joseph L. Galloway.  Copyright 1992, Harper Colins Publishers, Inc., N.Y., Selected passages from Prologue, pages xx - xxi.