Hike service

Military Service: Ghosts of Vietnam

Re: “Haunted by unanswered questions from my service in Vietnam” [Nov. 11, Opinion]:

I read Denny Wagenman’s guest essay about his reluctance to be “proud” of his Vietnam tour in 1966. I share Wagenman’s feelings about that war. Although my “conscript” tour of Vietnam did not take place until 1971, I asked the same questions Wagenman described in his essay. Why were we in the country of another people killing fathers, mothers, grandparents and children? Apparently, not much changed between 1966 and 1971. There was no heroism, no charges from the Light Brigade, and no obvious display of bravery or sacrifice. All there seemed to be was an attitude to make it out alive and in one piece.

Today, 52 years later, I still dwell on these questions. I don’t feel “proud” of what we accomplished in Vietnam. When I flew home through Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, I was taunted, yelled at, and spat at for being a “baby killer.” When people thank me today for my service, I’m like Wagenman: I nod and walk away.

John Humnicky, Woodinville