Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Vietnam War Veteran: They Called Us Baby Killers

The technician at my doctor’s office yesterday-- the anniversary of the Kent State shootings on May 4, 1970 -- told me that last May he attended in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the 40th reunion of his Vietnam battalion. (He plans to attend the next scheduled reunion in Richmond, Virginia, in May of 2010.)

He had enlisted in the Navy, attended corpsman school, and then volunteered to go to Vietnam, serving in Da Nang. (Yes, he was there during the Tet offensive; I asked him.)

And then he talked about the bitterness with which he was greeted upon his return. The whole country had changed, he said. When he left, the Beatles were singing love songs; when he returned, they were wearing rose-colored glasses.

Do you know what they called us? he asked. Yes, I said. They called you baby killers.

To slightly change the subject, I told him that the night before I had screened the documentary FIGHTING FOR LIFE by Terry Sanders. The documentary depicts military doctors and nurses as well as their patients who are wounded in Iraq.

(Nancy Brown of www.YourMilitary.com and I will be interviewing Terry Sanders on our BlogTalkRadio show www.YourMilitaryLife.com on Tuesday, May 12th, at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.)

I told the technician that battlefield medicine had changed a great deal since Vietnam. But the truth is that the documentary’s opening scene is the scene I always connect with Vietnam – soldiers running, running with a stretcher, every second possibly the difference between life and death for the soldier on the stretcher.

FIGHTING FOR LIFE is uplifting – showing the miraculous recoveries being made today by some wounded military personnel. Look up the show listing for your PBS station for Memorial Day weekend or order the DVD at www.FightingforLifetheMovie.com.

And as we go from the Kent State anniversary to Memorial Day at the end of this month, I’m grateful that the men and women warriors returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are being treated with respect rather than name calling.

Are you showing your support for our troops? If you need ideas of some projects you can support, see www.MrsLieutenant.com.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of MRS. LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL and the co-author of the Jewish holiday book SEASONS FOR CELEBRATION. She also blogs at LA Internet Business Examiner, Operation Support Jews in the Military, and Fiction Marketing, and she is the co-host of the BlogTalkRadio show Your Military Life. Her company Miller Mosaic LLC builds call-to-action websites for book authors and small businesses.

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