My Lai Massacre Analysis

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Ken Leland, a Vietnam veteran who produced a website about his time as a soldier, recalls his experience. “Vietnam was a nightmare, twenty-four hours a day, and at any time, that nightmare could turn into reality.” He remembers an operation from September 19, 1966 when his squad was ambushed: “I tried to yell out orders, but there was so much firing going on, I could not even hear myself yelling. As I looked back, our company corpsman ran toward us and was shot, got up, was shot again, and killed. I yelled to the kid behind me to help me get the wounded boy in front of me off the path, when he was shot in the head and died instantly.” Contrary to the movies, the characters do not come back to life after the credits roll. Leland remembers it …show more content…
In a Louis Harris poll in 1979 almost 60 percent of Vietnam veterans felt television coverage of the war was not positive and two-thirds felt coverage of the My Lai massacre influenced the public’s opinion of veterans. Three of McLaughlin’s interviewees recalled being stereotyped, called “baby-killers” or “crazy” and their families did not want to discuss their experiences causing veterans to bury everything they had gone through. Vietnam was the first war that Americans did not recall with pride as well as the first to be reported in full detail. Many veterans displayed psychiatric problems when they returned, but they were ignored for two decades, deemed crazy by an apathetic public. Most veterans served when they were young adults, many under 25-years-old, and then had to try and establish an identity when they returned to the U.S. But they were despised by most, isolated from their family and friends due to their experiences and rejected by society making it nearly impossible to establish a life and …show more content…
While the parade honored those who served, for many it was too little, too late. Terrence Hutton from Chicago, Illinois and his friend did not attend the parade even though it was in their town. “It came a bit late. Yes, some of us are still angry,” he said. While most veterans were treated horribly upon their return to the U.S., due in large part to the media’s coverage of the conflict, some recall their service with pride and honor since they answered their nation’s call to arms. Jay Archibald from Martinez, California is thankful to the protestors for their actions. “Let’s give credit where credit is due. If no one had ever opposed the stinking war it would still be going on. Excesses were committed on both sides both domestically and internationally. At least the ‘hippies’ had an opinion on the situation. The silent majority stayed quiet because they were too embarrassed to say something. Their fear was someone with a flag might accuse them of being un-American. We can’t have that, can we? Better let some more of our children die instead. Embarrassment is a powerful tool,” he said. The media undoubtedly had an impact on veterans returning home and how they were treated by society. While there is no way to change the past, going forward the media must be careful in their coverage of conflict and do their best to report all sides

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