Vietnam

The trials and tribulations the soldiers faced at home were
far worse than any battle they fought while in Vietnam. No
one seemed to fully understand what these men had went
through. They came home looking for love and comfort;
little did they know that they had not yet experienced the
worst of the war.

A numerous amount of people were for the war, but the
reality was, many were against it. " During 1967 public
support for the war dropped sharply. By October approval
of Johnson’s handling of the war dropped to 28%. A
number of major metropolitan newspapers shifted from
supporting the war to opposing it" (Wexler 145 ). Once the
public realized that the war wasn’t all glory, they regretted
the country’s involvement.

The government wasn’t exactly the most reliable source of
information during the war. They couldn’t be counted on
when they were needed most. The government’s handling
of aid for veteran’s seemed to be carelessly handled.
Veterans were treated poorly and promises were broken
frequently.

The majority of the American population had no clue that
the government was hiding information about POWs. "
From September 1973 to March 1974, a series of
unrelated witnesses reported the movement of nine POWs
between two Laotian prison camps" ( Sauter 189 ). Similar
accounts of American prisoners’ sightings were hidden
from the public.

Ron Kovic was not a prisoner of war. Instead he was sent
home after being wounded. His return home was originally
fine; everything he thought it would be. Yet he did not
receive the welcome he had hoped for. Many resented him.
He received blank stares and vicious glares. even his own
brother was against the war. His family was baffled by the
pessimistic view towards life that he had picked up along
the way.

In Born on the Fourth of July, Ron Kovic often
mentioned that the veterans’ hospitals were torture
chambers. " It is easy to lose it all here. The whole place
functions smoothly, but somewhere along the way I am
losing, and the rest of the people whom I can’t see in the
rooms around me are losing too. Even if I heal this leg, I
will lose. No one ever leaves this place without losing" (
Kovic 129 ). He felt this way, because he had seen the
reality of the war, and he was appalled by the treatment the
men received. Even after they had fought for their country
and risked their lives, they realized they hadn’t made much
progress, and they were only losing what the dignity and life
they had left.

Ronnie suffered a paralyzing injury in Vietnam. He was
numb from the waist down. He would never walk again.
He would spend the remainder of his life stuck in a
wheelchair, and it hurt him because it was a constant
reminder of the war and of his sacrifice that no one noticed.

Ronnie struggled most with his conscience when he killed
innocent people, like the captain. " The chaplain had a
memorial service that afternoon for a man he had killed and
he sat in the tent with the rest of the men. There was a wife
and a kid, someone said" ( Kovic 194 ). For years Ronny
felt extremely guilty for killing the soldier. He had tried
desperately to confess and apologized to his wife and child,
but their hearts could not pardon him.

Ronnie felt desperate. He felt he had no use in the world
because he could not use his legs. Before the war he was
known for his athleticism. After the war, he had no choice,
but to rely on his heart and mind , and that was something
he wasn’t sure how to do. To express his thoughts and
feelings was almost unheard of.

The emotional impact on all of the veterans was a horrid
one. " Being trapped seeing someone blown to pieces, his
blood ad splinters of bones and insides and brains all over
you is outside the range of usual human experience" (
Mason 23 ). Many veterans had psychological problems
and suffered from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, which is a
psychological disorder affecting individuals who have
experienced profound emotional shock, such as torture or
rape, characterized by periodic flashbacks of the traumatic
event, nightmares, eating disorders, anxiety, fatigue,
amnesia, and social withdrawal.

Many veterans could not cope with coming back to a
changed America, and as a result they turned to drugs and
alcohol. This abuse and change in attitude left many
veterans jobless and some even homeless. They probably
had no idea that their lives would not be back to normal
once they returned home.

Ron’s paralysis in his legs had an immense impact on