I graduated from college in 1968 and went into the Army. I was trained in Arabic and Prisoner-Of-War Interrogation.
My family heritage was German, and Depression survivor, and right wing politics. I was raised to study hard and follow orders.
The Tet offensive occurred while I was in Army Language School in Arlington, VA. I was surprised at the strengthen of the offensive, but my belief that the Vietnam War was right was not shaken.
I was assigned to the 529th Military Intelligence Company at Fort Hood, Texas.
Among the books I read from our library was a history of Vietnam by Bernard Fall.
It described Vietnam’s long struggle against Chinese domination, and recent war of independence against the French.
I’ll never forget the day when the erroneous assumption of “The Domino Theory” was right there in front of my face. I put down the book and said to myself, “My government has been lying to me.” Everything changed from that point on.
My last 6 months in the Army I was stationed at Fort Belvoir, VA. In plain clothes I visited and spoke with Vietnam Vets Against The War, protesting on the Washington Mall.
After the Army I went to Saudi Arabia and taught English for a year, then spent a summer in Lebanon.
Later I lived in China for 6 years. I have traveled in 19 countries.
My “take away” from Vietnam is that there is always a “back story”…and I do best by walking a mile in the moccasins of those with whom I disagree the most, before forming my own opinion…and…may I hold my opinion with ongoing openness rather than self-righteousness.