Interactive Vietnam Veterans Memorial
April 1, 2008 10:03 PM   Subscribe

This is wonderful, flapjax.

*goes to explore*
posted by amyms at 10:13 PM on April 1, 2008

This man was 23 years old when he was killed; he arrived in Vietnam on February 14, 1967, and was killed March 3, 1967.

Helluva post, flapjax. Thanks.
posted by rtha at 10:38 PM on April 1, 2008

My grandfather's name is about 1/3 the way down the first section (E1). I didn't realize until looking at his listing tonight that I'm now older than he ever was. I think I'm going to focus on the things that matter for awhile.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 11:12 PM on April 1, 2008 [3 favorites]

It's a terrible tragedy that the US government has not taken any lessons from all of those lives that were lost in Vietnam. There's a reason the phrase "lest we forget" is the phrase most closely tied with veteran remembrance activities in many countries. It's because for every life lost in war there should be a new resolve to never repeat the mistakes that caused it.

Your people need to make this stop.
posted by loiseau at 2:15 AM on April 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

Not to toot my own horn, but to sound the horn for those boys, previously, previously, and to again warn against our technocratic masters of war.
posted by orthogonality at 2:40 AM on April 2, 2008

Huh, I just dived into the virtual Wall randomly, and happened to find a name that is similar enough to mine that he almost certainly was a 5th or 8th cousin.
posted by orthogonality at 2:49 AM on April 2, 2008

On Orthogonality's tip (though not relating to Iraq), the Heroes Remember project contains full interviews in video and transcript form of Canadian veterans. I've just discovered this myself and the stories are so fascinating.

(An interesting derail is that a number of the interviews with soldiers based in Italy in WWII talk about how the Canadians were ready to take Rome but they were told to hold off so the US could do it all ceremonial-like, for what they cite as "political" reasons.)
Interviewer: In fact, Rome could have been taken, as I understand it, by the Canadians.
Mr. Dowie: Yeah.
Interviewer: Do you know why they didn't?
Mr. Dowie: Political.
Interviewer: In fact, the Americans took it.
Mr. Dowie: Yeah, the political thing was that the Americans should be the first in. And our colonel, Colonel at the time, Caron, Vern Caron, decided that he was gonna beat 'em to it so we took a side road, went around Rome, and when the Americans rolled through, triumphantly through Rome, we were all lined up on the road to greet them, the other side of Rome.
posted by loiseau at 2:51 AM on April 2, 2008

Just to be perfectly clear: in no way do I mean fuck these men. They deserve nothing but respect and a quiet thought.

A bit late for that, isn't it item?

My guy... his country did more than call, they drafted his ass and as Springsteen wrote "sent him off to a foreign land, to go a kill the yellow man."

Eugene Handrahan. Never knew him, but I wore his (randomly assigned) POW bracelet throughout the 1970s until it pretty much disintegrated on my arm. They never found his body. Didn't know until today flapjax, that he was born 2 days - and 15 years - before me so thanks for that.

Because of poor bastards like Eugene, I didn't get drafted and because of what happened to Eugene and 58,000 others like him, I was smart enough not to enlist.

Rest In Peace brother.
posted by three blind mice at 3:55 AM on April 2, 2008 [2 favorites]

three blind mice writes "A bit late for that, isn't it item? "

I pretty clearly read item's "fuck you"s as being for the "statesmen" and warmongers and profiteers who send kids to war, not the kids sent. And damned right.
posted by orthogonality at 4:09 AM on April 2, 2008

This is very moving, thanks.
posted by spinturtle at 5:17 AM on April 2, 2008

I pretty clearly read item's "fuck you"s as being for the "statesmen" and warmongers and profiteers who send kids to war, not the kids sent. And damned right.

As did I, but the "fuck you" rant was inconsistent with quiet thoughts.

The Wall is about the names on it. Let them at least have that.
posted by three blind mice at 5:37 AM on April 2, 2008

Ah, Jesus, you got me this morning. Reading those details, even in such a clinical, tabular format, pretty much gut-punched me. Sent to my father, who made it out alive.

I really need to stop looking at that site at work before my boss comes by and asks me what's wrong.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:09 AM on April 2, 2008

The late sixties was a scary time. The draft was plucking boys randomly from the neighborhood and you just prayed and kept your fingers crossed that they were not coming home in a box. Plugging in my old hometown into the search engine to see the names of those who did was chilling. Excellent post, even if it is leaving me a bit teary eyed.
posted by caddis at 7:40 AM on April 2, 2008

Very fine post; I will send it to my dad (1st Cavalry, two tours, 1968-69).

The search function is truly amazing.

We don't listen to veterans very well.
posted by Miko at 8:08 AM on April 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

It was exactly forty years and one week ago today that my father lost his best friend in an explosion. Dad personally carried what pieces of him he could find in a sack until he could get back to a base to have them shipped home so that the family would have something to bury. That's the kind of man my father is, the kind of man I suspect I can only aspire to be.

RIP, Michael J. Bandy. Thanks for watching out for my dad.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:29 AM on April 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

My mom was a nurse, and living in Hawaii, during the Vietnam war. For a while, when I was a baby, we lived in a little house above Kaneohe Bay, overlooking the MCAS (Marine Corps Air Station). This was the mid-60s. She began to notice that planes were taking off much more frequently - like 24 hours a day - and it was really noisy, and keeping infant me awake. So she called the CO's office and said, "What's going on, and how long is this going to last, because the noise is driving us crazy and keeps the baby awake." The CO's office said, "Ma'am, we don't know what you're talking about."

She had some friends who were Navy pilots. A few didn't come back. A couple of her nurse friends joined up, too. They both came back.

Fifteen years ago, the Vietnam Women's Memorial was dedicated in Washington DC. The Wall is one of my favorite monuments, and I was curious about what the women's memorial would look like in real life, so I headed down to the dedication site. Somehow, I imagined that not a lot of people would be there, and I was stunned to see a huge crowd. I wandered around by myself, just watching people, most of whom - male and female - were dressed in old fatigues. I saw one man, a big, bearded guy in fatigues and a leather vest with the POW-MIA-Never-Forget patch on it, crying in the arms of a middle-aged woman in fatigues with a caduceus patch on one sleeve. It was like that the whole time I was down there - I couldn't really hear the speakers, and it didn't matter, because I was surrounded by middle-aged men and women who were mostly openly weeping and hugging each other. It's remained one of the most moving experiences of my life.
posted by rtha at 9:40 AM on April 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

Army nurse, from rtha's link:
"There is nothing more intimate than sharing someone's dying with them," a Vietnam-era nurse named Dusty wrote in a collection of poems, "Visions of War, Dreams of Peace."

"It is more intimate than sex, it is more intimate than childbirth, and once you do it, you can never be ordinary again."
posted by Miko at 9:46 AM on April 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

I visited the Vietnam Memorial many years ago and was very moved by it even though I am not American and do not know anyone listed. Likewise I was very moved by visiting the memorial museum in Hiroshima and seeing the remains of the building that survived directly under the blast. Even Remembrance Day for WWII dead can be a very powerful and sad experience -- I think because the dead are mostly so young and their deaths seem so pointless in retrospect.

Today in Canada we have politicians playing politics with the war dead by introducing a motion to have flags lowered to half mast for every Canadian soldier killed in the current Afghanistan conflict. It might be better if they used their position to avoid armed conflicts in the first place.
posted by binturong at 10:40 AM on April 2, 2008

posted by Smedleyman at 12:39 PM on April 2, 2008

Re poet Dana "Dusty" Shuster posted by maggieb at 3:44 PM on April 2, 2008

I went to a funeral a few years ago for an uncle who died from ALS and complications/illness resulting from agent orange. Somehow some local VFW guys infiltrated the ceremony and had the priestie guy say some hoo-rah army shit. They weren't friends of the family or anything, they just showed up thinking it would be cool to salute a fellow vet.

"Uncle Mike" was a draftee. He hated the fuckin' army, hated the fuckin' war, hated the painful shrapnel in his ass cheeks and hated that he lost so many friends in Vietnam. When the saluting and flag-waving started all of Mike's biker/counter culture friends very gently lifted and carried out those aging vets.

It just wasn't the right thing for Uncle Mike.

This is a very touching post and thread. Vietnam has had a huge impact on my life, even though I was just a baby at the time.
posted by snsranch at 5:20 PM on April 3, 2008

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