Enduring The Vietnam War
Over 9 million American military personnel served in active duty during one of the most gruesome wars ever fought, the Vietnam War. As Caputo, from A Rumor Of War by Philip Caputo, refers to the veterans on the war as they return home: “We had survived, and that was our only victory”(337). This war is considered to be the only military conflict that the United States has been involved in that they haven’t “won”. To agree with Caputo, no side ever truly wins at war. Both sides experience extreme amounts of both mental and physical harm to the soldiers that are fighting for them.
Vietnam was known for being one of the bloodiest and most gruesome wars ever experienced by American soldiers. Almost 31 percent of Vietnam veterans returning to the states have developed PTSD. This is a disease that is most often received by being put into traumatic events that has lasting mental effects on the rest of ones life. These veterans have experienced mortifying situations that ranged from killing an enemy soldier, to watching a best friend killed, to even living through being shot for oneself. Situations like these have harsh impacts on the physical body, but equally important is the strain on their mental health. Experiences like these impact these veterans for the rest of their lives and made it hard for them to return to daily life. To make life even harder for these veterans, when they returned from service, they were outcasted and shunned by society, Caputo states: “We would not return to cheering crowds”(337). Soldiers were not welcomed back from their service, to even take it a step farther, they were looked down upon and referred to as savages and killers for doing what they had been told to do: kill. These men had just risked their lives for the country and were shunned for doing so. The fact that these soldiers were resented for serving their country led many soldiers to emotionally breaking points and a large amount of suicides from many Vietnam veterans. Although most veterans did not reach these extremes, all of them suffered from emotional pain and terror as they could vividly remember the events that they had experienced in Vietnam. The most common experience that all of the veterans shared upon returning to the states was terrifying nightmares, as if they were reliving some of the situations that had scarred them in Vietnam. It is hard for most people to imagine the terrors that these people must have lived through during their time in Vietnam. The emotional pains suffered by the soldiers who fought in this war help validate Caputo’s statement that nobody ever truly wins in a war.
Not only was the Vietnam War mentally strenuous, but it also challenged every soldier physically as well. The soldiers faced many challenges similar to previous wars, such as injuries, exhausting days, and hard work, but the Vietnam war brought new elements of physical difficulty to the table. These new challenges were due to the harsh environment that they were forced to fight in. One main challenge was the heat that was very harsh and intense in this equatorial…