Vietnam Stories

1968 - A Year of Beginnings and Endings

1968: A Year of Beginnings and Endings by Charles Corden The year 1968 began and ended with an ongoing war in Vietnam. A war that began quietly in the early 1960s with a few military advisors had become by 1968 the most divisive war in our history with demonstrations, both peaceful and violent, bombings, the fall of a failed presidency and the...


1968 and Me

The year 1968 saw many horrendous events take place. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated. The TV showed the killing of a man by a Vietnamese Officer with a gunshot to the head of a bound prisoner. 70,000 North Vietnamese troops took part in the Tet offensive which took the battle from the jungles to the cities. The USS...


A Decade With Jesse

Jesse lived through one of the most transforming, eventful and tumultuous decades in human history. This decade in its own unique way equals the far reaching political, social and cultural occurrences such as the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. This decade Jesse lived through in the late twentieth century in the United...


A Vietnam Reflection

During my school years in Brooklyn, New York, my experience of other students broke down into three categories: friends, bullies, and other kids. At Saint Malachy grammar school, Eddie Coffee was one of the other kids. I remember Eddie as always smiling and having very dark, straight hair that rather glistened in the sun. Eddie seemed perpetually...


Alice's Traditional Thanksgiving Pizza

Normally when I told this story, there was a classroom of students who were thinking more about the break in classes that was about to begin. I knew better than to attempt serious discussion on the last class before the Thanksgiving holiday and instead focused on communicating traditions rather than the traditions of communicating. This story...


Draft Lottery Number One

The late 60's had no shortage of issues to attract attention. I often felt that when the 50's ended, a wave of awareness swept across the country and we could see so many of our shortcomings. Maybe it was the fear tactics of McCarthy or Kennedy's organized crime investigation or Kruschev promising to bury us or opening the heavens to space...


May Day Demonstration 1971

FoldUnfold Table of Contents Protesting a War Nixon's Reflections on Talking with Protesters Protesting a War I would love to be able to claim that I was one of those arrested and herded off to the parking lots of D.C. Stadium (renamed RFK at some point) during the May Day demonstrations of 71 but I was actually one of those doing the...


Moon Landing July 20,1969

I spent all my Virginia summer days at the pool. I went to swim team practice in the morning. I spent the rest of the day, until afternoon practice, goofing off at the country club. My friends and I spent our hours in between practices exploring little places we were not supposed to go. We knew every corner of the lifeguard building which was off...


More Interviews With Veterans

I went to a pancake breakfast on recent Sunday morning and was lucky to get these four veterans to talk with me… #1 of 4 Interviews “ I enlisted in the Navy for 3 1/2 years during the Korean War period and trained at the Bainbridge Naval Station”, Dan told me as we sat around a table at the fundraiser pancake breakfast. “I would say I was lucky...


Old pain, New pain, Same pain

The chilly, gray, dreary sky was typical for mid November in Central Texas. One of the three soldiers driving south on the US highway had seen the sign, World's Best Burgers , earlier that week. He and his buddies had come to check it out. They turned left from Highway 183 at the sign and drove the two miles down the ranch road FM 970 that led...


Reflections on Being in the Military during the Viet Nam Era

The PA system blared out the call to board my flight to Chicago. I am late, but running through SeaTac International airport would not dignify the US Navy uniform nor accommodate the spit and polish, shipshape demeanor being arrogantly displayed to my fellow travelers moving hither and yon via the crowded aisles of the busy facility. People’s eyes...


The Final Battle

I had a very pleasant surprise during the winter session of the Osher Lifetme Learning Institute at UConn in Waterbury. I was taking Sandra Ebner’s “Sculpting Poems” course. I had given her a number of poems to read and correct as did the other members of the class. Sandy was at some gathering in a restaurant and she was correcting the poems at the...


Viet Nam War

FoldUnfold Table of Contents The Worst Lottery May Day 1971 I have four brothers. In 1968 that was a desperate situation. The Viet Nam War was raging and the draft was our greatest fear. Two of my brothers were draft bait, the others were too young for the draft for the near future. This time was one of deep deep disturbance. Madmen were...


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