Re: “Haunted by the unanswerable questions of my service in Vietnam” [Nov. 11, Opinion]:
I read the guest essay by Denny Wagenman about his reluctance to be “proud” of his tour in Vietnam in 1966. I share the same feelings about this war as Wagenman. Although my “conscripted” tour in Vietnam wasn’t until 1971, I asked the same questions that Wagenman outlined in his essay. Why were we in another people’s country killing fathers, mothers, grandparents and children? Apparently, nothing much changed between 1966 and 1971. There were no heroics, no charges of the light brigade and no obvious displays of valor or sacrifice. All there seemed to be was an attitude of making it out alive and in one piece.
Now, 52 years later, I still dwell upon these questions. I do not feel “proud” of what we accomplished in Vietnam. When I came home through Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, I was jeered at, yelled at and spat at for being a “baby killer.” When people thank me today for my service, I’m like Wagenman: I nod and walk away.
John Humnicky, Woodinville