****Today’s blog post is dedicated to my uncle and my father-in-law and the other Vietnam war veterans who fought courageously on the field and continue to fight the anguish in their hearts and minds.****
Do you remember the buzz surrounding that the Oliver Stone flick back in 1986?
Its tagline was: “The first casualty of war is innocence.”
Carrying an “R” rating, I wasn’t allowed to see it.
Although I had never been a fan of war movies, accolades from the media and from my own family members piqued my junior-high curiosity about the blockbuster, “Platoon.”
“It’s too real,” my sister told me. “You’ll have nightmares.”
Her warning didn’t keep me from catching it when it appeared on HBO several months later. Years later, this scene – with Willem Defoe’s hands outstretched toward heaven and the strings of Barber’s Adagio playing beneath – remains vivid in my mind. Trivia: One of the characters in "Long Road" is named after Defoe's character in this movie.
(CAUTION: This clip contains language and scenes that are not suitable for the young. Keep in mind, it is a war movie and pales in comparison to what veterans really faced.)
As a 13-year-old, I couldn’t fully comprehend the nightmare that what I watched played out in varied forms in real life for many Vietnam veterans.
Later in life, I learned that when veterans returned from Vietnam they were treated in a less than dignified manner for carrying out the orders assigned by their commander-in-chief, the figurehead elected by the people who taunted them upon return.
It was a time and place those of us who have not served will never understand. And I’m deeply sorry for those who returned to be spat on and jeered.
The wounds of war run deep. Several decades later, many Vietnam veterans still refuse to talk about the horrors they witnessed.
What must it have been like to watch your fellow soldiers fall to the rat-a-tat of gunfire? What must it have been like to live in real fear that each day might be your last?
The same nightmare, I’m sure, lives on for all veterans. We will never know the true cost.
For as long as I live, I will pray the winds of war never blow across the American plains.
To all veterans, may God bless you and heal you.
* * *
This blog is reprinted from Kat's work blog: www.ndnform.com/blogs