Dazed & Confused in Vietnam
Thomas Allen Marshall was apathetic when he was drafted to serve the United States army in Vietnam. This apathy did not last long once he actually set foot in the jungle. Like so many young men, Tom crossed the Atlantic not knowing what to expect, and found something that he never could have imagined. Streaming jungles. Napalm. Underground tunnels. Agent Orange. Guerrilla warfare. A conflict that started in controversy, ended with controversy, and has made nothing but controversy since. Tom's view on the conflict is less political and controversial than the norm and takes the role of a progressive narrative.
When I had the opportunity to visit Washington D.C. two weeks ago, I jumped on the chance to visit Vietnam Memorial. Tom was walking with his family holding a sign that said "Proud Veteran against the War". I asked him about his sign and told him about my project and his family and I fell into conversation about his Vietnam experience.
"Going to Nam is what the youth of our generation were asked to do, and we did it. There were some tough times but that is the nature of the beast. I am proud to have served in Vietnam but there is no reason for this generation to have to go through the same thing" (Thomas Marshall 3/22/03) After some more semi-patriotic chatting about serving his time representing his country and the memorial representing their losses, Tom asked me if I'd like to go get a hotdog from a vendor with him. I left my girlfriend with his family to chat about D.C. restaurants and we went for a walk. Away from his family, Tom's tone changed completely. "My experience there was the worst time of my life.
Conversation lightened a...