Thursday, October 26, 2017

Vietnam, Part 6

This is the fifth and last person I spoke with.   If you haven't seen the others in this series, you can read "Barry's" story here, "Jesse's" story here, "Ted's" story here, and "Jim's" story here.

If you recall, I asked for each vet's year of birth, what year he went to Vietnam, and where he was stationed.  I also asked if he enlisted or was drafted.  Then I asked for some personal feelings about things he remembered from the war.

Please be aware these stories were told in my own words, based on the information and facts each serviceman provided me.  All names are fictitious, their stories are not.

Because this affects how I feel about Vietnam and how these veterans bared their souls, I'm adding it to Elke's theme, Landscapes of the Soul at Art Journal Journey. 

"Ralph" was the last person to speak to me.  The other three didn't want to talk because they were afraid I might divulge something they didn't want told or they had left the war behind or thought it was too painful to bring up.  Clearly, these were the men who needed the most understanding and help because they were definitely still experiencing PTSD in one form or another.  But let's return to Ralph.

I was trying to determine a way to embellish this page some way, when I ran across an article in a magazine about medicine and healthy eating.  I was thrilled when I spotted the caduceus, the symbol used these days by physicians and EMS workers.  It wasn't always that way, though.  It actually started during  World War I when all medical ambulances bore a caduceus on their sides. This was a better known insignia than the Red Cross, since the caduceus was the symbol of truce, mediation, and the need for speed.  However, according to Dr. Baily:
Professional and patient centred organisations (such as the NZMA, in fact most medical Associations around the world including the World Health Organization) use the "correct" and traditional symbol of medicine, the staff of Asclepius with a single serpent encircling a staff, classically a rough-hewn knotty tree limb. Asclepius (an ancient greek physician deified as the god of medicine) is traditionally depicted as a bearded man wearing a robe that leaves his chest uncovered and holding a staff with his sacred single serpent coiled around it symbolizing renewal of youth as the serpent casts off its skin.

Ralph had many stories, but I could only include a few.   

He was most impressed with the Navy corpman who was assigned to his group.  He told me he proudly called him "Doc," an honor that had to be earned.

I  couldn't find an image of the area where Ralph was located, but found this image from a travel magazine from the Mekong River.

Ralph told me about his time in the VA Hospital.  It was not a pretty sight, he explained.  He thought his country had turned against him, and so had his government.

He remembered hearing stories of World War II veterans who were treated like heroes, while he wasn't even greeted at the airport on his return home.

The materials I used for this page include a sheet of heavy card stock I sprayed with bubble wrap, then stamped onto the page.  Next came the computer generated text, the two images I found in a magazine, a picture from a travel magazine, and an image of a helicopter I found on the internet.

I have my own story to tell last, and will do so soon.  Thanks for joining me on this voyage to Vietnam and the men who fought there.  And let's thank "Barry," "Jesse," "Ted," "Jim," and "Ralph" for sharing their stories from Vietnam.  Now let's head to Art Journal Journey to see what others have created.  Maybe I'll see you there, too. 

15 thoughtful remarks:

Valerie-Jael said...

Another very interesting story. The soldiers had a lot to suffer while they were in Vietnam, the people who lived there, too. Thanks for another great report. Have a nice day, hugs, Valerie

geistige_Schritte said...

a terrible time of suffering in Vietnam for the soldiers!
Thanks for the further interesting history again and thanks for the link with AJJ

greetings Elke

froebelsternchen Susi said...

It really touches my heart - every time I read about one of the men. Ralph is no exception! Thank you for this reports in form of artful pages - I am impressed - and it makes me think a lot.

Wishing a happy Thursday Elizabeth!
Hugs to the boys and
♥♥♥ thank you for joining the AJJ challenge!
Off to the kitchen area --- big meal for my family since we have our national holiday in Austria today.


Rike said...

Very interesting and sad storys about the vietnam war! Every war is terrible, why don't people stop them all?!

My name is Erika. said...

I wonder how all of these men feel now that the war is over and Vietnam has become a hot tourist destination. I have really enjoyed reading these stories. As I mentioned before, you had a great idea doing this. I don't personally know anyone who fought in Vietnam, but I do know some Vietnamese Americans. Have a great day. Hugs-Erika

Incipient Wings said...

these are so moving.
This is such a wonderful idea..telling their stories and preserving history. love it!

RO said...

I wish there was a way I could teleport to Kansas to hug you for shedding light on these men. The ones who want to speak, and those who are still too traumatized to share. Your artwork to display it all is pitch perfect. I enjoy seeing you share your messages via blogging, and your pictures are not lost. HUGE Hugs to you Elizabeth! RO

Sami said...

Another interesting and sad story. I do feel for Ralph, so sad that after all these years these men are still traumatized with the Vietnam war.
Thanks for bringing these stories back to life with your pictures Elizabeth, you've done a great job.

Dortesjs said...

Very interesting story and great art to

Meggymay said...

The trauma that poor man suffered and then to read what his feelings were when he came home. It is beyond comprehension.
The Vets should be proud, they served their country and gave folk freedom at great cost to themselves.
Another heartfelt page Elizabeth.
Yvonne xx

Let's Art Journal said...

Such a poignant story and you art showcases it beautifully 😁. Enjoy the rest of your week! J 😊

Sandra Cox said...

I'm glad you lifted your voice for these vets, Elizabeth. They did so much for our country and our country did so little for them.

CJ Kennedy said...

A shame that these men who answered a call from their country (whether or not they enlisted or were drafted) weren't treated with respect and honor when they returned. And in hindsight, they never should have been sent to South East Asia in the first place.

Jeanie said...

This is so touching and so very beautiful. PBS is repeating the Tet Offensive episode of Vietnam next Tuesday. It's the only one in the series I've not yet seen. I will be thinking of Ralph.

I can't wait to hear your story.

roth phallyka said...

a terrible time of suffering in Vietnam for the soldiers!

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