9 April 2004 | jpozenel
Doesn't really capture the period...
I graduated from high-school in 1968. Guys in the neighborhood, my friends, cousin, older brother, everybody it seemed, was being drafted. I joined the Army Reserve in 1969 to dodge the draft. (I wasn't college bound at the time.)
Most everyone I knew made it back okay or didn't go to Vietnam. No one really close to me died, but I knew some that did. Some who did go to Vietnam, came back a little screwed up, some a lot. Many laughed about killing civilians or atrocities against the enemy. It alway seemed like an exaggerated, overly macho, nervous king of laugh. But it was okay, it was 'pay-back' in their minds.
I was in basic training during the walk on the moon and Woodstock in 1969. I'm glad I didn't go. I wish that some of the guys I went through basic and advanced training had not gone. I met some really great guys there (I hope they're all okay.) I still can't understand why so many volunteered.
My father was a World War II veteran with a purple heart who fought in Europe. He didn't believe in the Vietnam war and he wasn't ashamed to say so (maybe because he was a father). I watched the death counts on the 6 o'clock news with him, through my junior and senior high school years. I knew it would be over soon and I wouldn't have to be involved, but it wasn't, and it was possible that I would be.
I listened to the A.M. radio stations each night before I went to bed listening again to the death counts, and to dedications from young girls to their boyfriends and young husbands. They always played 'Soldier Boy' and 'Mister Lonely' as they read the dedications. It made you feel sick.
I've yet to see any movie that really conveys the true feelings of that time, but I do see a lot of parallels to what is going on today in the Middle East today. A lot of young guys that are being convinced of the same concepts of 'my country, right or wrong', 'love it or leave it', and of course 'pay-back'.
This movie did try. At least it made me think about making a comment. It sends a good message, but lacks the true feelings of the times, i.e., total confusion and desperation.