Glimpses of War – BG Jenkins

Glimpses of War

Glimpses of War - BG JenkinsFlashes of pictures of war first appeared on our television when I was nine in 1965. It was the Vietnam War and all I understood was that our country, the U.S., was helping to rid communism in the country of Vietnam. The northern part of the country clung to communism, while the southern portion longed to be free. We would see News Reporter, Peter Jennings, encamped with U.S. troops in news reports, as they were fighting to free the South Vietnamese from the North.

“Rat-a-Tat-Tat’s” rang in the background as Mr. Jennings, and the soldiers peered intently into the distance toward the sound. Fear hung like a cloud in the sky over me as I tried to comprehend what it all really meant.

More scenes of protest marches by hippies, and other debates, flashed across the evening news so often, that I couldn’t watch much of it. The images on television, and the thoughts about war coming to us, were too much for me to bear.

The years rolled on, one after another, and the war rolled on with it. Anger resided in our country, and was as deeply entrenched as the soldiers who were thousands of miles away in their foxholes. They planned strategically to rid Vietnam of the ominous danger, which could eventually come to our shores, if they didn’t stop the North Vietnamese.

Communism and freedom, two ideas that ruled at the opposite ends of each other, and for which many brave heroes gave their lives, and their health, to stop it from spreading.

Harold Dean, my aunt’s husband, served bravely and came home to battle his own ails of Malaria, as did many others. My Aunt Jean would retell how he would lay days sick in the jungle while in Vietnam, and not even be able to move or function.

We later learned that other dangers which occurred to the soldiers over there, like friendly fire, and Agent Orange (a chemical spray), were prevalent. Agent orange was sprayed over the land as a weapon of war to defeat the enemy, but it also caused many of our soldiers to contract horrible illnesses from it. Even my husband’s cousin died from the effects of Agent Orange.

Upon returning home soldiers were injured, ill and frustrated with the way the war was run. And, still many veterans today feel unsupported and dejected because of this terrible war.

I was a junior in high school when the U.S. withdrew their last troops from Vietnam in 1973, and was thankful for its end. The full run of Vietnam War went from Nov 1, 1956 to April 30, 1975.

These are just a few memories that this Grandmother has of the Vietnam War.

Footnotes:  I did learn later that war had been going on in Vietnam since the mid to late 1800’s over who would possess and lay claim to the land. French possession turned to Japanese after W.W. II, and then China and Russia supplied the North Vietnamese with weapons and methods to leave us a defeat in the end.

These links will show some thoughts of what went wrong with this war. (I had another link which I cannot find now about it previously being French possession.)
https://msuweb.montclair.edu/~furrg/Vietnam/degrootvnamwrong01.pdf
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War
http://alphahistory.com/vietnamwar/french-colonialism-in-vietnam/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agent_Orange

This piece was written from a writing prompt on 6/7/2017. The prompt was: “A grandmother shares her memories from the war.”

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(c) Copyright 2017 – BG Jenkins

Glimpses of War – BG Jenkins

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5 comments on “Glimpses of War – BG Jenkins

  1. Thank you, BG for participating in the writing prompts each week.

    This was a great piece but a very sad and tragic time in our history.

    Thank you again.
    Monna Ellithorpe Author recently posted…Glimpses of War – BG JenkinsMy Profile

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