The Impact of the Vietnam War on the People of America

The Vietnam War was one of the most tragic wars in American history. The affects it had on the American people were tremendous. Even today many Americans have the frightening, unforgettable memories of the war. The war was accounted to be over in 1973, but Americans still suffer the aftershocks of a national trauma that has left the nation bitterly divided and estranged from its ideals. The painful memories will be eased, but they will never be fully healed. Many Americans look at the Vietnam War as
the most hated conflict in United States history. It was also the first war America has not won. Many Americans started to lose faith in their country. Many refugees came to America in hopes to start a much
better life here, but were disliked by many because they made it more difficult for the many unemployed citizens of America.

Many families in America felt much sorrow as they learn of resent events in Vietnam, like the
battle of Laos, and the loss of there loved ones. Many veterans returned from Vietnam and received a cold welcome from millions of Americans that felt a deep hatred for the war and the way the fighting ended.

The only warm greetings came from family and friends of the veterans. One veteran spoke for many when
he said, "I went to Vietnam thinking I was a good American who was doing my duty for my country. I
come back and ended up feeling like a criminal." It alienated many returning veterans from their fellow
citizens and made them wonder if they would ever again fit into the mainstream of their nation’s life. They
also wondered if they would ever win a place for themselves in the United States. One reason for these
feelings toward the veteran is that the veterans did not return at the end of the war, but throughout the
course of the war after serving a tour of duty. They did not return with their units, but instead returned
alone or in a small group of men. There was no way for the government or the Americans who supported
the United States role in the war to welcome the returning veterans in an organized way. When the men did return in larger numbers the country was exhausted from the years of living with the anger, shame, and
guilt that the conflict had triggered. Hardly anyone seemed in the mood for a hero’s welcome. The
veterans came home to a cold, silent, and angry reception.

Some felt a deeper sense of alienation from their country because they know of their dismal
image. The veterans’ image worsened with the joined problems they suffered after the cold welcome
home. Some of the problems were that there was a drug and alcohol abuse and psychological illness. No
one gave recognition to the veterans for their services and sacrifices. The national attitude changed over the years and the veterans gained increasing recognition. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was later built in honor of the Vietnam Veterans. Today, unending streams of people visit the memorial daily that whisper words of love and respect to there lost ones. The changing public attitude seen in recent times is bringing an end to one of the saddest legacies left to everyone who served in the Vietnam War.

The families of many Vietnam veterans received reports of family members that are missing in
action or prisoners of war. Over three thousand names were published as either MIA (missing in action) or

POW (prisoners of war). Only six hundred of those men were returned to the United States during the
exchange of prisoners between the U.S. and North Vietnam. An outcry was started because of the
disappearance of more than 2,500 Americans. The families and friends of the missing men demanded to
know where they were or whether the Vietnamese captured them. The American people wanted the United

States government to locate and brig them back. If they were dead, then they should give those men a
proper burial in the U.S. The family and friends of the men that were thought to have perished could not be free of the anguish of not knowing the fate of a loved one. The outcry was widespread, but it was also
considered unique to American history. More men were lost in World War II and Korea,