Relationships Between Vietnam Soldiers and Their Families

The relationship between the soldiers of the Vietnam War was different from the relationships with people from home. The soldiers felt as if they could not tell the whole truth about the war through their eyes to their loved ones at home. The soldiers that they were with all the time understood the pain and confusion each other felt, yet no one talked about it. War changed how people had relationships with others. War could bring people closer or tear them apart.

The relationships between the soldiers and their families grew or forced them to become distant. The soldier did not want to worry his parents at home and knew that they would not understand what he was going through. In the Documentary Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam, directed by Bill Couturie, showed these relationships change. One soldier writes to his mother and tells her that for a second, he felt as if he was on vacation because it was so beautiful in Vietnam. One had to think that this man wrote this to his mother only for her to worry less. He did not want to tell her the whole truth on what was really going on inside of him. Would anyone from the outside world understand? "P.S. tell mom not to worry, there is nothing I can't handle." The soldiers could handle the physical horrors that were happening to them, but the mental status of many the soldiers were becoming breakable. How could you tell someone not to worry about you, when you do not even care what was going to happen to yourself. The soldiers were all prepared to die, but waiting was what was driving them crazy. They did not want to tell their 17-year-old girlfriend at home this because she would never understand. How do you tell someone that you love that you are loosing your mind and do even know who the enemy is anymore? Downplaying the whole war situation to your loved one was the only way to keep yourself sane and not make them worry too much about you. All of the men were scared, yet did not know how to show it. They could not show it to their families in letters because that could do nothing but make your mother worry that you were not going to make it. "We all scared, one can see this emotion in each individual, some hide it with their mouth and others hide it with their actions.

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