Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Marlboro Marine documentary link from Mike Lohre

Link to the short film we will watch in class.  We know PTSD affects children and adults and makes life very difficult.  This film helps us understand it from one American perspective.

For your homework, add to the conversation by using the Comments feature below.


All best,


James Blake Miller in Iraq, 2004.  This photo became one of the most iconic images of the Iraq War.

Exploration 6- Mason DeJarnette

The story which meant the most to me would be On the Rainy River. The reason this chapter meant so much to me is because if I was to placed in a situation such as the draft, I feel I would respond to the situation much like Tim does. I would have the same idea of running to Canada to evade the draft, but at the same time I would feel like a coward for running from my fears. Much like Tim did when he was on the river in the boat with Elroy, when he was just yards away from the Canadian border and started crying his eyes out because he was afraid of how people would think of him, if he would to ever return home from Canada.
I believe that I connect best with the narrator, Tim thus far. I believe this because he did not want to originally go to war, but because he was drafted he had to go. I feel like I would feel the same way if I was put into the situation such as the draft. I believe that Tim is the more modest guy in the group, not wanting to cause any trouble and is not affected by the war as bad as some of the other guys are.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Exploration 6- Morgan DeWitt

The story that has meant the most to me so far is the Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong.  It really represents how far apart normal civilization and war really are. It shows how war can change a person through Mark Fossie's girlfriend. When she first came into the picture she was a sweet young innocent girl, "She had long white legs and blue eyes and a complexion like strawberry ice cream. Very friendly, too." (89) But near the end, she did a complete 360, "It took a few seconds, Rat said, to appreciate the full change. In part it was her eyes, utterly flat and indifferent. There was no emotion in her stare, no sense of the person behind it. But the grotesque part he said, was her jewelry. At the girl's throat was a necklace of human tongues. Elongated and narrow, like pieces of blackened leather, the tongues were threaded along a length of copper wire, one tongue overlapping the next, the tips curled upwards as if caught in a final shrill syllable" (106).  

I connect with Kiowa the most, which is kind of strange. I think it's mostly because he's the peacemaker in the group and is always there for everyone. He's always there as a shoulder to cry on.

A convention of narrative that I think really helped the story was in the chapter "Speaking of Courage", Tim O'Brien did a great job using senses to make the story come to life. For example, "The field was boiling. The shells made deep slushy craters, opening up all those years of waste, centuries worth, and the smell came bubbling out of the earth." (142). He really makes the field come to life with the sense he uses.

I was struck by the writing early on in the book when Tim O'Brien was running away from the war,
"Twenty yards. I could've done it. I could've jumped and started swimming for my life. Inside me, in my chest, I felt a terrible squeezing pressure. Even now, as I write this, I can still feel that tightness. And I want you to feel it-- the wind coming off the river, the waves, the silence, the wooded frontier. You're at the bow of a boat on the Rainy River. You're twenty-one years old, you're scared, and there's a hard squeezing pressure in your chest. What would you do?" (54). Reading this part gave me goosebumps, because what would I have done in his position? It's insane that so many people went through this situation during this time period. You can really hear O'Briens passion in this part of the writing and I love it.

Exploration 6 by Andy Pickard

          I think Field Trip had the most meaning to me so far. There seems to be no trace of the war on this small farm, regardless of all the torment that went on there. I think that this represented how most veterans felt after the war, they were expected to go home and try to just forget about the war regardless of what they had seen. For example on page 176, "Now looking out at the field, I wondered if it was all a mistake. Everything was too ordinary." He comes back expecting to remember his friend's face by seeing where he was when he died. But all he came back to was a small field with people farming. It is almost as if the land had forgotten about the war and death that occurred.
          The character I have connected with the most is Henry Dobbins. He is a very hopeful and kind person who wants to help people. Even after his girlfriend broke up with him he still wore the pantyhose around his neck, hoping that it's luck would never run out and that it would help him survive the war. Also, when he is talking to Kiowa he said he would want to be a minister just to help people. I have always extremely respected people who can continue on being a good person even after the horrors of a war.
          One convention of narrative that I have noticed is the use of long run-on sentences. These sentences usually express something in extreme detail. For example, the passage below is talking about a man who was killed and going in deep detail about the brutality. It really makes you imagine the horrors they faced.
          "His jaw was in his throat, his upper lip and teeth were gone, his eyebrows were then and arched like a woman's, his nose was undamaged, there was a slight tear at the lobe of one ear, his clean black hair was swept upward into a cowlick at the rear of the skull..." This really impacted me because it shows in detail the absolute horrors of war and how they are killing human beings not just the enemy. It shows that it must be impossible to feel nothing when killing someone regardless of what side they are fighting on.

Exploration 6 - Alan Brophy

The chapter Church has meant the most to me because I can relate to Dobbins about becoming a minister and also Kiowa for feeling wrong for setting up in a sacred place. Dobbins makes a comment about becoming a priest because he thought it would be good living, and I agree with him. I am devote in my religion, but I also knew from a young age that I did not really want to be a priest, though many thought it would be a good job for me. I will say that I have been tempted by the prospect of it, yet I doubt I will ever take the offer because I know what I want to do with my life already. Dobbins, doesn't know exactly what he wants to do with his life, but he also knows he could not be a priest because it does take a lot of smarts. Dobbins on the other hand does have the persona for being a priest which would get him through it if he had tried.

I connect the best with Henry Dobbins because I believe we share a lot of the same traits, yet are also polar opposite in others. Dobbins is a nice guy, superstitious, and lucky. I am nice, I am very very lucky, and I, unlike Dobbins, am sharp. Although I am not superstitious, I think Dobbins and I share a lot of the same type of luck. For example, being in the middle of a firefight and not getting injured for Dobbins, while I can play goalkeeper and not get hurt seriously until my Senior year of High School.

The dialogue in Church is a great narrative tool as it develops both Dobbins and Kiowa from two soldiers, to two people. In the passage you can see both of their viewpoints and more personally get to know them.

"They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die. Grief, terror, love, longing—these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible eight. They carried shameful memories. They carried the common secret of cowardice barely restrained, the instinct to run or freeze or hide, and in many respects this was the heaviest burden of all, for it could never be put down, it required perfect balance and perfect posture. They carried their reputations. They carried the soldier's greatest fear, which was the fear of blushing. Men killed, and died, because they were embarrassed not to. It was what had brought them to the war in the first place, nothing positive, no dreams of glory or honor, just to avoid the blush of dishonor. They died so as not to die of embarrassment. They crawled into tunnels and walked point and advanced under fire. Each morning, despite the unknowns, they made their legs move. They endured. They kept humping. They did not submit to the obvious alternative, which was simply to close the eyes and fall. So easy, really. Go limp and tumble to the ground and let the muscles unwind and not speak and not budge until your buddies picked you up and lifted you into the chopper that would roar and dip its nose and carry you off to the world. A mere matter of falling, yet no one ever fell. It was not courage, exactly; the object was not valor. Rather, they were too frightened to be cowards."

This quote means a lot to me because I can relate to it in some ways and I also just think it sums up what a soldier is in a sense. I read a lot of war books that are from the point of view of the soldier and I also talk to a lot of veterans. This quote is a huge part in the mental state of a soldier. This is how they continue going in some sense, although I have no personal experience, I speak from others' personal experience.

Exploration Six By Darrin Warwick

     The story that has meant the most to me so far is Love because Jimmy comes back to visit him at his home in Massachusetts.  This is important to me because when I left the military I left a lot of great friends in the process.  Now that I have been out for two years you try and reconnect with those old friends and stay in touch with them.  My closest friend from the military actually lives in Ohio so I can hangout with him and stay in touch but this story reminded me that its always good to stay connected and remember the people you served with.
     I think the character I connect with the most would have to be Tim O'Brien.  The way he can tell stories and has a dark sense of humor fits me perfectly.  That's what I was known for in the military was a dark sense of humor and being able to bring people out of their moods on deployment.  There was a part at the beginning of the chapter Spin where they saw a boy with one leg and a plastic leg and they joked about somebody running out of ammo that's why he wasn't dead it was some dark humor.
     The narrative that stands out to me is in the chapter Church because he does a great job bringing to life what is going on.  As you read it you can picture them there and what is going on. I could see the Monks cleaning weapons and everyone around talking.
      The passage that I marked from the reading is about how he was describing boredom.  "You'd try to relax.  You'd uncurl your fists and let your thoughts go.  Well you'd think, this isn't so bad.  And right then you'd hear gunfire behind you and your nuts would fly up into your throat and you'd be squealing pig squeals. That kind of boredom." This impacted me because I know the feeling but it also had humor to it.  He took a serious situation and put a funny twist on it.  That's one thing they teach you in the military is to not be complacent because you never know when something might happen even though its easier to let your guard down and fall into complacency you just can't do it.  We would be having a free day in Afghanistan maybe playing football and next thing you know there is a mortar being shot into the base.  So we all know the boredom all to well.

Exploration 6 by Catelyn Millet

The story that has meant the most to me so far is "Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong". The reason this story has meant the most to me is because you can see how much a person can change in such a short amount of time. The person that changed was Mary Anne Bell. Mary Anna was Mark Fossie's girlfriend. He paid to bring her to Vietnam. When she first arrived there, her relationship with Mark was the same as it was when they were back home. They would hang out, she would be all lovey dovey. She became curious about multiple things while she was there. After a couple weeks, she fell into the habits of the men. She dressed different and didn't care what she looked like. On page 94 Tim O'Brien explains a little bit of how she changed. He says, "She stopped wearing jewelry, cut her hair short and wrapped it in a dark green bandanna". She started to become one of the guys. Some nights she would come in late and eventually she wouldn't come back at all. Her and Mark's relationship began to fall apart. Eventually she disappeared and Mark never saw her again. She was not the same person that Mark fell in love with. The war changed her.
I think I connect with Tim O'Brien. At the beginning when he tried to run away from something hard, he eventually felt that he needed to step up and do it. I used to try to run from hard things because I didn't know what was going to happen but I eventually learned that I have to take that step and just do it. I can't learn if I don't put myself out there. He also cares a lot about his platoon. He has a big heart for his family and the men. When I care about someone, I really care. I love people no matter how they treat me sometimes. I would never give up the relationships I have with my family and friends.
Tim O'Brien does a great job at creating scenes. He's very detailed, down to what the person was wearing, what the place smelled like, what it looked like. When he explained the scene where Kiowa died. I felt like I could've actually been there. When he was writing about Bowker riding around in his truck for hours, I felt like I could be sitting in the passenger seat.
One passage that really stuck out to me was when Tim O'Brien is on the field trip to Vietnam with his daughter and he goes back into the crap field where Kiowa had died. "I eased myself down, squatting at first, then sitting. There was again that sense of recognition. The water rose to mid-chest, a deep greenish brown, almost hot. Small water bugs skipped the surface. Right here, I thought. Leaning forward, I reached in with the moccasins and wedged them into the soft bottom, letting them slide away." (pg 178). That passage really meant something to me because it shows that after all that time, Tim O'Brien didn't forget about what happened to Kiowa. I didn't expect him to, I just thought it was neat how he left that marking for Kiowa. He took the time to go back into the crap field to place the moccasins in. He took time to visit that place on his field trip.

Exploration 6: The Things They Carried

     The story in the book "The Things They Carried" that is my favorite is "The Dentist" because it demonstrates a central theme that always arises in my head all the time, and that is proving a point to others or even to ones self and the extremity one will go to do that.
     The story is about Curt Lemon, where the men were in the South China Sea when an army dentist is sent over to check all of the soldiers teeth. Curt Lemon as a kid had multiple bad experiences and that led to his tensing as he sat in the chair waiting for his teeth looked at because since being a high schooler, he had never let anyone mess with his teeth. Curt Lemon finally admitted this and when he was finally called into the dentists office to have his teeth fixed, he fainted before the dentist even layed a finger on him. Curt Lemon was embarrassed by this so late that night he creeps into the tent and asks the doctor to pull out his "messed up tooth", the dentist finds nothing wrong with it but since he heavily insists he pull it out, he yanked it.
     The character I find the most correlating is Rat Kiley because I find a legitimate interest in him to help people despite the given circumstance and his perception of the world. When Rat Kiley tells stories he wants to ensure that the people listening are digesting what he is saying just as much as I want to when I am telling a story. I just see myself and Rat Kiley as people who are complex thinkers that derive our central brainstorming and intricate perceptions of the world in which we rationalize certain things the same and that we care a lot about people.
     The best convention of narrative in my opinion is the quote from Page 31 in O'Brien's book, "On occasion the war was like a Ping-Pong ball, you could put a fancy spin on it and make it dance." This quote was so absolutely mind boggling for me and it set in in a way that no other quote did. I found it absolutely incredible that Natalee used the same quote because I think this gives a great detail of what the Vietnam war was like. This war hits home with so many people due to the draft and so many different takes and experiences were derived from.
     The part that stuck out to me kind of sums of the book, when O'Brien talks about in Spin about Literature and his writing of war stories. He said, "I feel guilty sometimes... Fourty-Three years old and Im still writing war stories. My daughter Kathleen says its an obsession.....As a writer, all you can do is pick a street and go for the ride, putting things down as they come. That's the real obsession. All those stories." This is so flamboyantly deep because his daughter thinks he is obsessed with war stories, but he is obsessed with stories. He loves telling stories and writing them because he is a writer. He has a passion for telling stories based on memories.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Exploration 6: Kiaya Royster

The story that has meant the most to me so far is Speaking of Courage, because its after the war he is home now and there is nothing he has to wake up and do every morning. There is no place to be, no one to look after, nothing to carry. I like it so much because it resembles and end as well as a new start for him, he given so much of his time to the war and this chapter really shows the part that most people don't think about, like what comes after? What happens when these veterans come home. In the book we read about him driving the same 7-mile loop over and over again, and how it gave him a safe feeling. When soldiers come home, I think that is all the search for the feeling of being safe again after being in harms way for so long. I also think this story shows how some veterans, especially when faced with the chance to talk about their experience can't even bring themselves to do, yet they want to feel like people care and the want their stories to be heard and they chose actions that make it seem the opposite but thats what hurts them even more in side, the bottling of all the horrible things that they've seen.

At this point in the book my strongest connection lies with Norman Bowker, because throughout this book not only does he go to Vietnam and risk his life everyday that he is there, when most people in the USA won't ever serve in the military, but he struggles with problems that hit home as well, like trying to make your parents proud and dealing with disappointment when you can't reach goals that you've set for yourself.

This book is made up of a lot of dialogue, and the authors way of not just filling every page with sentence after sentence to keep the readers turning the page. The way the dialogue is used in the book allows the readers to turn the characters into people that they can get really personal with and pull out strong emotional responses from them. At the start of the book when Jimmy Cross stops in to visit, it gives readers an emotional response when you read the dialogue back and forth and learn that he never made it with Martha and after all this time he stills cares to even hope theres a chance. Also the author does very well at making you think there is going to be an answer to a lingering question if you just keep reading, when he never plans on doing so, like when Jimmy asks "And do me a favor. Don't mention anything about-." It leaves reading wondering what that something could be and makes them want to keep turning pages which I like.

A passage that struck me was the beginning section of The Ghost Soldiers, where he is describing how it feels to be shot and comparing the first time to the second. The way he describes how Rat kept coming back to check on him into comparison to it taking Bobby 10 minutes to work up the nerve to crawl over to him. Theres almost a dark humor when he describes Rat calming him down by saying it's only a side wound and wouldn't be a problem unless he was pregnant. "Don't worry about the baby." Rat says before running off to go fight again, versus him almost going into shock after getting shot in the butt and remembering Bobby's pale face and bug eyes. This means something to me because I pick when I may have to go to combat I hope if I ever end up hurt I get a Rat and not a Bobby.

Exploration 6: Elizabeth Scott

       The story that has meant the most to me so far is "Sweetheart of Song Tra Bong" because it shows how people changed because of Vietnam. People went to Vietnam one way and came back a different person. When Mary Anne Bell went to Vietnam, she was a soft, sweet girl who just wanted to be with her boyfriend and learn the ways of Vietnam. After she started spending time there and started going on ambushes with the six Green Berets, she changed. Rat Kiley talks about how people change in the book. In the story, on page 109 in my book, he says "what happened to her was what happened to all of them. You come over clean and you get dirty and then afterward it's never the same." and I think that is exactly what Vietnam did to people. It scarred them and they could not go back to how they were before the war. It made them someone else like it did to her.

       One convention of narrative I think O'Brien uses extremely, extremely well is sense detail. He is very descriptive and at several points in the novel, it seems as is the reader can actually see or feel what the characters feel. An example of this that really stuck out to me was also in "Sweetheart of Song Tra Bong" when Fossie finds Mary Anne after she hasd disappeared. He heard her singing and went into the camp the Green Berets were at and saw her. On page 105, there are a few instances of sense details. O'Brien writes describing the scene, "Thick and numbing, like an animal's den, a mix of blood and scorched hair and excrement and the sweet-sour odor of moldering flesh - the stink of the kill." He writes describing Mary Anne's tongue necklace, "Elongated and narrow, like pieces of blackened leather, the tongues were threaded along a length of copper wire, one tongue overlapping the next, the tips curled upward as if caught in the final shrill syllable." Both of these descriptions awake the senses. You can almost smell or picture what is going on in your head.

     The character I connect with best so far is Norman Bowker. When he was first introduced, we learned that he carried a diary with him, which, in my opinion, shows that he likes to express his thoughts and feelings, but maybe just not out loud. Then, later in the novel, more specifically in "Speaking of Courage," he is driving around doing nothing but thinking. Thinking, imagining, and taking in the scenery. He was reliving the time in the field when Kiowa died and he wanted to talk about it. He almost did when he was at the A&W, but he couldn't do it. In this story I really related to him because I know how it feels. I'm the same way; I like to think things over and over in my head, but in the end that's where they stay. I would much, much rather keep things in my head or write them in a journal than talk about them.

      One passage that particularly stood out to me and struck me was on page 20 in my book, in the story "The Things They Carried." "They carried their reputations. They carried the soldier's greatest fear, which was the fear of blushing. Men killed, and died, because they were embarrassed not to. It was what had brought them to the war in the first place, nothing positive, no dreams of glory or honor, just to avoid the blush of dishonor. They died so as not to die of embarrassment. They crawled into tunnels and walked point and advanced under fire. Each morning, despite the unknowns, they made their legs move. They endured." This particular passage struck me because of how true it is - not just for soldiers, but for people in general.  It's completely crazy to think of some of the things people do, even if they don't want to, simply to impress other people and protect their reputation. People care so much about how other people see them, that they will risk their life and do things they don't agree with or don't like just so people see them better.

Exploration Six by Ruksana Kabealo

The story that has meant the most to me so far is Speaking of Courage. Speaking of Courage takes place after the war. In the story, Norman Bowker drives around a lake in his hometown, having conversations with people in his mind. He berates the town, cursing those around him for not caring about the war. At one point he states "The town did not know shit about shit, and did not care to know" (137). He feels that "there [is] so much to say" (141), but he has no one to say it to.

However, when Bowker finally gets the opportunity to tell someone about the war, he doesn't. In a way, it's not just that nobody wants to hear about the war. It's also that Bowker can't bring himself to talk about it. At the end of the story he claims that "There was nothing to say" (147).

This story means the most to me because it touches upon a habit of mine. I constantly have idealized conversations in my head. It's a toxic habit. When you imagine having a conversation, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. Whatever happens in the actual conversation, if you have it, is a let down. Nobody's going to respond to you the way you'd want them to.

In addition, when you have conversations in your head, you assume things about people and their character. Bowker makes assumptions about the people in his hometown, convincing himself that they don't want to know about the war. He assumes that nobody would listen to him, even if he did try to talk to them. He imagines how Sally Gustafson would take issue with the term "shit field" instead of listening, and how his father would focus on the medals he had won, instead of his remorse over letting Kiowa go.

The more you have these imaginary conversations, the less inclined you are to have conversations in real life. After all, what's the point? You've convinced yourself that you already know how it would play out. You get so caught up in your head, you start to lose touch with the world around you. This can be dangerous, especially if you're in a situation like Bowker, and a single conversation with someone willing to listen could save your life.

It's this shared habit that makes me feel most connected to Norman Bowker. Another thing that makes me feel strongly connected to Bowker is his situation with his parents. At one point, Bowker says "I'll tell you something, O'Brien. If I could have one wish, anything, I'd wish for my dad to write me a letter and say it's okay if I don't win any medals. That's all my old man talks about, nothing else. How he can't wait to see my goddamn medals" (34). He's in the middle of Vietnam, fighting for his life, and all he wants is for his parents not to be disappointed in him. He doesn't even want them to be proud of him for being a soldier, he just wants them not to be disappointed. This situation of having parents who value a child's accolades over the actual child themselves, and how frustrating that can be from the child's standpoint, is a situation I can empathize with.

A specific convention of narrative I wanted to discuss from the book is symbolism. It's important to keep in mind that this book is a work of fiction, and everything in it has been intentionally crafted. When we read, we have a tendency to trust the narrator. This is especially true in a genre such the war story, where we're expecting an autobiographical account of a soldier's experiences in war. This is very much not the case in The Things They Carried. There is a great deal of intentionally constructed symbolism throughout the book.

Kathleen, for example, doesn't exist. O'Brien doesn't have any children, and never has. He created Kathleen to represent the enormous gulf in understanding between all Vietnam veterans and their family members who didn't serve in the war. Mary Anne Bell is a symbol for all the soldiers in Vietnam who went in young and naive and slowly became corrupted. The man O'Brien killed could be a symbol for all the Vietnamese killed during the war.

Finally, a passage that really meant something to me is this passage from the story Notes:

"By telling stories, you objectify your own experience. You separate it from yourself. You pin down certain truths. You make up others. You start sometimes with an incident that truly happened, like the night in the shit field, and you carry it forward by inventing incidents that did not in fact occur but that nonetheless help to clarify and explain." (152)

When I read that passage, it struck me. I like telling stories, but I've never really put much thought into why. This passage speaks to me. By telling stories, you take something that happened to you and you distance it from yourself. You can tell the truth because it's not true anymore, not for you. It's just a story happening to somebody else. It becomes very impersonal.

Another thing is tone. When you turn a memory into a story, you take control of it. You can tell it any way you want. When you experience something that makes you sad, you don't have to tell it as a sad story. You can make it a funny story. And when you tell it to someone else, and it makes them laugh, you feel better.

This connects to the story Spin from the novel. In Spin, O'Brien claims that "the war wasn't all terror and violence" (30). In this story, he's putting a "spin" on the war. He takes control of it, by telling it in a positive way.

Exploration 6- Brianna Moore

     The story that meant the most to me was How to Tell a True War Story, this story stuck out to me because it gave you a different perspective on war. The people who are listening to the stories don't actually ever listen they take out what they want to hear. Most people look at war and think oh so many people died from this tragic war but no one thinks about what the soldiers went through, what they experienced and how they felt. People do no think about how these soldiers feel when they lose a friend, in this stories case when Curt Lemon died. How the soldiers had to deal with it and to cope with it. It made an impact on me because not everything is as happy as people try to make it, and without these people war would have more of an impact on people that what it does now and how any good war story is never about the actual war its about the experiences and what you see. "And in the end, of course, a true war story is never about war. It's about sunlight. It's about the special way that dawn spreads over the river when you know you must cross the river and march into the mountains and do things you are afraid to do. It's about love and memory. It's about sorrow. It's about sisters who never write back and people who never listen."

     The character that I connect to the best so far is Rat Kiley. I connect to him because he isn't the best at coping with people that he cares about dying, which I don't think anyone does. Rat Kiley is very passionate when it comes to people he cares about, and sometimes he doesn't always show it in the best way but he is always there for the people he cares about.

In the chapter of enemies they use narrative convention of plot. In this story they use it to describe why Dave Jensen is so paranoid about everything and the reason behind his paranoia. Without plot any story How to Tell a True War Story. "And in the end, of course, a true war story is never about war. It's about sunlight. It's about the special way that dawn spreads out onto the river when you know you must cross the river and march into the mountains and do things that you are afraid to do. It's about love and memory. It's about sorrow. It's about sisters that never write back and people who never listen." This passage impacted me the most because this is saying that war isn't all about the fighting but its about making memories and honoring those who have died, it's not just about how you fight the war but how you make memories and how you connect with the people around you. This something that everyone should use because without this tool, people would never know what it is like to be able to connect to people and to build real friendships.

Exploration 6: The Things They Carried. Travis Baum

        The one story that really caught my attention and related to my life in a way is "Friends".in the chapter before friends,"Enemies" (Dave Jensen) and (Lee Strunk) absolutely hated each other and they got in a fist fight. In the story "Friends" the two became somewhat of best buds, "Over the next month they often teamed up on ambushes. they covered each other on patrol, shared a foxhole, took turns pulling guard at night". I can relate to this because i have two best friends who before we really knew one another we didn't get along, now ever since 8th grade we have been best friends. its funny how people don't like each other until you give them a chance.
    The character i connect to most is Norman Bowker in the story "Speaking of Courage". In the story he just wanted to tell anyone he could about his time in Vietnam he drove around this big 7 mile loop just thinking about what he would say and conversations him and whoever (mostly his dad) would have. By the end of the book he finds someone that had nothing better to do than to listen to what he has to say. Norman said ""how'd you like to hear about---" he stopped and shook his head."Hear what, man?" Nothing."" I can relate somewhat to him because i don't talk about things that i probably should, I like to keep everything to myself. That was something he wanted to talk about all day.
     Something i took from my active reading is Tim O'Brien's intensive imagery. "The shit was in his nose and eyes. there were flairs and mortar rounds, and the stink was everywhere, it was inside him, in his lungs, and he could no longer tolerate it. Not here, he thought. Not like this. He released Kiowa's boot and watched it slide away" (page 143). This really made me feel like i was there watching this happen.
    A passage that i had marked while i was reading is in the story "Spin". "I remember one boy with a plastic leg. I remember how he hopped over to Azar and asked for a chocolate bar. GI number one, the kid said, and Azar laughed and handed over the chocolate. When the boy hopped away, Azar clucked his tongue and said, wars a bitch. He shook his head sadly"(page 30). This made me realize how sad it is that innocent children were being killed and injured in a war they didn't have a part of.

Exploration 6: Reading Response by: John Rickman

The story "Style", has been the meant the most to me so far because it reminded me of a high school bully sitaution. It also helps that the chapter is so short, compared to the long, text heavy, meaty chapters before it, so this little break helped me connect and appreciate the chapter more. Dobbins grabs the soldier who was mocking the girls dance, and threatens to throw him in a well if he doesn't quit. This is a classic rehashing of someone standing up for someone weaker. I love stories and things that go against the grain like that.

I've connected the most with First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, because the author, Tim O'Brien, has shown us so much into his heart. I empathize and actually feel bad for him and his unrequited love situation. He possesses intellect, but isn't able to fully use it because he's so sprung and in love with Martha. All guys have to admit there's been that one girl that has made them feel some type of way; they possessed something special, that drew you in, and you just couldn't leave her alone. His obsession with Martha really helps me connect with him, and causes me to see him more as a real person, rather than a random character from Tim's recollection of the Vietnam War.

So far, Tim has used the narrative convention of scenes effectively. He jumps from story to story, time frame to time frame, so casually that sometimes you don't realize time has changed yet. I like it, because it places you in the mindset of each version of him (his post war author version & his during war teenage version), allowing you really think and get into his thoughts, as if you're in the story also.

The most captivating passage so far has been on page 4, "Whenever he looked at the photographs, he thought of new things he should've done". This caption is referring to Lieutenant Cross, as he's recollecting what could've been with Martha. This passage really hit me because I know the feeling he's expressing all too well. Regret, thinking about the past and what would've happened if you did certain things can be very painful, so seeing how one of the characters went through something so human really set the perspective of life in my mind. Although this excerpt isn't even about Vietnam, it does help you set the perspective of the war. What would have happened if Jimmy never had to serve? What if he had been more upfront with Martha sooner? Would she have been there when he came home? We will never know.

Exploration 6- Jireh White

The story that meant the most to me so far is "The Man I Killed". This story made the biggest impact on me because while he staring at the corps he is imagining the mans past and the future he could've had if he didn't kill him while also putting himself in the dead mans place. This stands out to me because in my eyes this one dead man represents all of the fallen soldiers throughout the Vietnam War. In the text. Tim O' Brien says that "In the presence of his father and uncles, he pretended to look forward to doing his patriotic duty, which was also a privilege, but at night he prayed with his mother that the war might end soon. Beyond anything else, he was afraid of disgracing himself, and therefore his family and village (O'Brien, 127)." To me this quote represents the feeling of many soldiers from both sides during the war. A lot of them feared going to the war but they feared being a disappointment to their family, themselves, and village/country more than anything.

The character that I connect to the most so far is Kiowa. I connect with him the most because he seems to be the voice of reason in many situations. Throughout the story he seems to be a good friend and is a rational person. In the story "The Man I Killed", Kiowa was there for O'Brien and was trying to help him move on from what he had done. At times his words could come across as rough, however in the end I think he was just displaying a type of tough love that O' Brien needed at the time. Kiowa was patient with him when it happened and allowed him time to himself but at the same time did not let him dwell on it too long.

From active reading, I have noticed that the author uses amazing sense details. His use of sense details help set a scene the helps readers imagine the surroundings. Not only do the sense details help create an image of surroundings, it also helps readers image the other characters and what they are going through.

A passage that I've marked in my reading that stood out to me comes from the first chapter "The Things They Carried". The part that made the biggest impact on me was when he said
 "They carried the soldier's greatest fear, which was the fear of blushing. Men killed, and died, because they were embarrassed not to. It was what had brought them to the war in the first place, nothing positive, no dreams of glory or honor, just to avoid the blush of dishonor. they died so as to not die of embarrassment (O'Brien, 21)." 
This quote impacted me because its amazing how soldiers only wanted to fight because they didn't want their reputation to be trashed. As a soldier, I believe that you should want to fight and defend your country because you genuinely desire to. In war you should be passionate about what you are fighting for and not go to war solely because you did not want to dishonor your family.

Exploration 6: Jared Gandelot

The story that has impacted me the most is On the Rainy River, it was very personal and reviled who Tim O'Brien is as a person, his strengths and his weaknesses. When he got the draft notice he tries to think rationally about why he shouldn't have to go and how he doesn't support the war. He also felt pressured by society to go and fight. "It was a moral split. I couldn't make up my mind. I feared the war, yes, but I also feared exile. I was afraid of walking away from my own life, my friends and my family, my whole history, everything that mattered to me. I feared losing the respect of my parents. I feared the law..." (p.42) This sense of community is what eventually pushes O'Brian to go to Vietnam. In one sense O'Brian is courageous for fulfilling his societal obligation but in an other sense he is weak for down playing his own moral convictions. This irony of his man verses society conflict in interesting to me and is repayable to everyone in one sense or another.

The character that I relate with the most is Mitchell Sanders, I relate to him because of his personality and morals. His sense of irony, from the bag of lice he sent back to his draft board to the off the wall stories that he tells, is praise worthy. The stories he tells may not be a realistic as O'Brian's but they have just as much meaning. He is also loyal and has a strong sense of justice.

An example of a convention of narrative that I found interesting is O'Brian's use of nonlinear narrative. He doesn't start at the beginning he jumps around in time, from during the war to before it and then after it, from chapter to chapter. This is evident form the beginning when he transitions from during the war in The Things They Carried to after the war in Love. He also uses an other convention of narrative, the crot, where he momentarily jumps off of the time line the best example is in Spin. This way of writing can be confusing if not written properly, but that is not a problem for O'Brian. His use of nonlinear narrative and crots makes the story more interesting and more readable because it is almost like a puzzle that you are trying to solve.

One passage that stuck with me is in Spin where he jumps to the present and talks about why he is writing this book and how feels about it. "I'm forty-three years old, and a writer now, and the war has been over for a long while. Much of it is hard to remember. I sit at this typewriter and stare through my words and watch Kiowa sink into the deep muck of the shit field, or Curt Lemon hanging in pieces form a tree, and as I write about these things, the remembering is turned into a kind of rehappening...." This passage is meaningful to me because he reveals who he is as he is writing and how these stories are much more than just words on a page.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Exploration 6: Reading response to The Things They Carried- Natalee Christman

   The story that has meant the most to me so far is the Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong. The reason why I enjoyed this story the best is because the story captured what it is like to be a soldier. As I was reading this story I thought to myself that Mary Anne Bell might represent what it is like to be a soldier. When Mary Anne came to Vietnam she was only seventeen years old which, is when men could enlist. She also was described as being very naive and unaware of the danger at first. As Mary Anne stayed in Vietnam she helped out and became desensitized to the horrors of war just like many of the soldiers. Eventually Mary Anne stopped spending time with Mark Fossie and began spending more and more time with the Green Berets. A quote from the novel states "The silhouettes moved without moving. Silently, one by one, they came up the hill, passed through the wire, and drifted in a loose file across the compound. It was then, Rat said he picked out Mary Anne's face. Her eyes seemed to shine in the dark- not blue, though, but a bright glowing jungle green. She did not pause at Fossie's bunker. She cradled her weapon and moved swiftly to the Special Forces hootch and followed the others inside. Briefly, a light came on, and someone laughed, then the place went dark" (O'Brien,101). This quote just shows how Mary Anne changed throughout the story. She changed just like so many of the men who went to war. 
  The character that I have found myself connecting with the most is Rat Kiley. I believe that I connect with Rat the most is because Rat always takes care of the sick because he is the medic and I feel like whenever any of my family is not feeling well I feel like I need to help them. I also babysit a lot so I always feel like I am always responsible for somebody and that is something that I enjoy. In the book Rat is upset about losing his best friend, Curt Lemon, I also know how it feels to be upset when you lose somebody who means a lot to you. This character shows loyalty to the other members of the platoon. One way Rat does this is by simply by being a medic and he always takes care of people and makes them feel like they are going to be okay even if they are not. 
  The best convention of narrative that I have found while reading is a simile and it is "On occasion the war was like a Ping-Pong ball. You could put fancy spin on it, you could make it dance" (O'Brien, 31). I find this convention of narrative the most important in the book so far because it just is deep and it explains how Tim O'Brien feels about the war. He is saying that you can make the war anyway you want to and the war also has different meanings to everybody. Throughout the book O'Brien uses many great analogies that helps the reader understand what war was about. 
  Throughout the book there are many great passages that exemplify where the writing is at its best but one passage that stood out the most to me was "War is hell, but that's not the half of it, because war is also a mystery and terror and adventure and courage and discovery and holiness and pity and despair and longing and love. War is nasty; war is fun. War is thrilling; war is drudgery. War makes you a man; war makes you dead"(O'Brien, 76). I believe that the writing is at its best in this passage because it shows that war contains so many different feelings. The passage is basically saying that being a soldier makes you feel invigorated and also war can make you feel dead inside. War is a conflict within your own conscious.

Exploration 6- Jessica Stafford

     The story that has meant the most to me so far is Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong. This story has meant the most because it is shocking to the reader as the author uses Mary Anne Bell, a sweet innocent girl, as a symbol for each of the soldiers that went to Vietnam at a young age as innocent boys but lost their innocence after being changed by the atmosphere surrounding the war. Mary Anne Bell arrived in Vietnam as an innocent girl who couldn't imagine being in the war but eventually becomes so encompassed in the war that her feelings change and she refuses to return home. Tim O'Brien recalls, "What happened to her, Rat said, was what happened to all of them. You come over clean and you get dirty and then afterward it's never the same"(109). Each of the men also arrived in Vietnam as innocent boys who were forced into war through the draft and later their lives were greatly affected by the war.
     The character I connect the best with so far is Kiowa.  O'Brien states, "Kiowa always took along his New Testament and a pair of moccasins for silence"(9). I connect best to Kiowa because throughout the book he has been the one who kind of just watches what the other guys do and he also consistently sticks to his personal beliefs throughout the entire story. I relate to this because in most situations I tend to be more quiet and just observe what is happening. I also have always followed my own personal beliefs and have not let others adjust them.
     The convention of narrative that I think O'Brien uses frequently that stands out is personification. When describing the grief that Mark  Fossie felt about Mary Anne joining the Green Berets he explains that "the grief took him by the throat and squeezed and would not let go"(100). Through personification, he really demonstrates to readers how many different emotions actually affected the soldiers.
     A passage that struck me was when Tim was describing the person he killed. He recalls, "His jaw was in his throat, his upper lip and teeth were gone, his one eye shut, his other eye was a star-shaped hole, his eyebrows were thin and arched like a woman's, his nose was undamaged, there was a slight tear at the lobe of one ear, his clean black hair was swept upward into a cowlick at the rear of the skull, his forehead was lightly freckled, his fingernails were clean, the skin at his left cheek was peeled back in three ragged strips, his right cheek was smooth and hairless, there was a butterfly on his chin..."(118). This passage struck me because it begins by describing in vivid detail how gruesome the dead man's body is but then states that there is a butterfly on his chin which is typically viewed as a beautiful object. This passage is described in great detail which enables the reader to imagine the man's body and take time to consider the meaning behind the contrast Tim is making.

Exploration 6: Chas Jones

     The story that has meant the most to me so far is in the chapter Enemies. The story is about Lee Strunk and Dave Jensen getting into a fight about a missing jackknife. In the fight Dave Jensen broke Lee Strunks nose and he had to be "choppered to the rear." He returned two days later and things were awkward between them until Dave Jensen broke his own nose and asked Lee Strunk if they were even. After that they were best friends again. This reminds me a lot of me and my brother. We would always fight over the most pointless stuff and wouldn't speak to each other for a day and then the next day we were best buds again. This is also why I believe I connect to Lee Strunk the best out of all the characters. This is because I am the younger brother in my family and he is like Dave Jensens little brother. They didn't always trust each other but they could count on each other when they really needed too.
     A specific convention of narrative that I want to point out is in the chapter The Man I Killed. The detail that Tim Obrien goes into to describe goes into describing the dead body of the person he killed in unbelievable. The sense details are terrific especially how he makes it so we can imagine the body in our head. This also shows how much veterans think bout the men they killed and how it almost haunts them.
     A passage that struck me is in the chapter On The Rainy River. We all know that this is the chapter that Tim OBrien receives his draft notice and then goes to Canada but then decides after all to go to war. The part that struck me is his reasoning for going to war. Tim OBrien says, "My conscience told me to run, but some irrational and powerful force was resisting, like a weight pushing me toward the war. What it came down to, stupidly, was a sense of shame. Hot, stupid shame. I did not want people to think badly of me." This struck me because this shows what other people think of you has on people. I know I'm the same way and I am willing to bet that everyone, even the most secure people, have to care about what other people think about them. Tim OBrien even concedes that it is a stupid and "irrational" reason but he can't help it. Even though everything inside of him was telling him "NO", he didn't run because the thought of people judging him was to powerful.

Exploration 6 - Brady Hagman

The story that I connected to the most was On the Rainy River. I feel like i can actually see myself his situation because of how common it was. People all over had to face the same issue that Tim did and I think the majority including me would react the same way.

I can connect to Tim because i have the same initial thoughts when it comes to a situation like this. He thinks about his family first and his pride as an American. I have great respect for him in his decision on eventually joining the war. He is a very well rounded individual and very intellectual when it comes to making a sacrifice. It is so easy to run to Canada and escape the horrors of the Vietnam war. The average American has no care or connection to what people in Vietnam are doing. That is why 50-70% of people drafted fled the country. I could see myself going to Canada with my family because this war is not more important than being with them. I don't see it as being a traitor, I see the government as traitors for forcing people away from their lives to die for a cause that means nothing to them. Choosing people off of a draft just adds fuel to the fire. There has to be a much better way to find soldiers than randomly selecting people from their birth dates. Some people are very influential in society and it would be a detriment to put them in the war. Muhammad Ali is a great example of this. He is a hero to people all around the country. To put an icon like that in jail over a war that doesn't matter to the American people is a disgrace.

Tim uses characterization on his life and his surroundings when he was trying to decide on entering the war. He worked with pigs and would go home everyday smelling like them. Everyday he would contemplate fleeing the country while driving around in his car. He describes himself as almost an average American just doing his part in life that asks nothing from anyone. It is a great point because it relates to most of the people that were drafted. It is the most popular argument against the war. He is living in his own peace but all of the sudden he has this huge dilemma on his hands. That is not something that should be put on people.

"And right then i submitted. I would go to the war - I would kill and maybe die - because i was embarrassed not to." This quote from Tim was very revealing to how hard this decision was. Your choice was to go fight for something that is irrelevant and possibly die, or live life being viewed as a coward or a traitor by society for the rest of your life. This makes me think more about the attitudes of the soldiers fighting the Vietcong. Nobody wanted to be there. I am sure there were lots of issues within our own army to deal with at the same time. Having good morale in battle is a huge part of winning and the Americans didn't have that.

Exploration 6: The Things They Carried by, Brandon Smith

The story that has meant the most to me so far is "On The Rainy River." This story meant a lot to me because it shows how tough choices and inner feelings intertwine. It was obvious to the reader that Tim didn't want to go to war and Tim knew that himself. Elroy Berdahl helped Tim make the most important choice of his life without actually helping in a way. He was subtle about how he helped and never spoke of it or asked about Tim's situation. He helped in a way that was so subtle that it was hardly even noticed by Tim. I think it is absolutely amazing how a man of 81 years-old can be so helpful and yet so subtle in his approach. He was almost like God, in human form, helping guide Tim so that he could make his decision. "It struck me then that he must've planned it. I'll never be certain, of course, but I think he meant to bring me up against the realities, to guide me across the river and to take me to the edge and stand a kind of vigil as I chose a life for myself."(O'Brien p. 53).

I connect with Kiowa the most because my Grandma's side of the family has a lot of native american influence in it. They are all religious and I love the history that comes along with it. Kiowa reminds me a lot of myself and my family because we respect one another and try to help each other whenever the time comes. I have been raised to be respectful and polite to everyone and Kiowa reminds of myself in a way. It really got me good when I learned that he died such a tragic death and I really felt for the whole platoon and especially Kiowa's family.

I thought there was one part in the reading where Tim O'Brien was really splendid in his writing. That part was when he was talking about Vietnam and he said," You'd be sitting at the top of a high hill, the flat paddies stretching out below, and the day would be calm and hot and utterly vacant, and you'd feel the boredom dripping inside you like a leaky faucet, except it wasn't water, it was a sort of acid, and with each little droplet you'd feel the stuff eating away at important organs." (O'Brien p. 33).
This is so intensifying that it makes you really think about and wonder if it was really that bad. It sounds like hell to me and he really brings it out shoves straight into the reader's heart. He did a great job at making me think and i'm sure he made other people think too. He uses metaphors to really exaggerate how boring it was and he does a really good job at it.

"The dentist couldn't find any problem, but Lemon kept insisting, so the man finally shrugged and shot in the Novocain and yanked out a perfectly good tooth. There was some pain, no doubt, but in the morning Curt Lemon was all smiles" (O'Brien p. 84). When I first read this I was shocked. I had no clue what to think. Why would someone want a perfectly good tooth pulled out and go through all of the pain. All I could come up with was that he was just jealous and he couldn't stand the fact that he fainted when he was walking in the get his teeth checked. He had to prove to the men that he wasn't a sissy and that he was a stronger and more brave man than what he had displayed earlier. It was all about his image. He wanted the men to have a good image of him and he thought that it was necessary in order to keep his image.

Exploration 6 Eli Kuntupis

         The story that had the most meaning to me thus far is Friends. This story has the most meaning to me because I find it very relatable to occasions in my life and how friendships are started. In some of my friendships i started off by not liking the person that much and then grew to becoming very close with that person just like how Jessen and Strunk did.
           The character i connect with most is Kiowa. I believe this because I think Kiowa is more caring than the others in the platoon. Kiowa possesses many traits but the one I think is most notable is the fact he is a man with morals and values to some extent but definitely more more morals and values than others in the platoon.
           A part in the reading that I found a strong example of his use of imagery to describe a scene in the chapter How To Tell A True War Story. O'Brien says, "I still remember that trail junction and those giant trees and a soft dripping sound somewhere beyond the trees. I remember the smell of moss. Up in the canopy htere were tiny white blossoms, but no sunlight at all, and i remember the shadows spreading out under the trees where Curt Lemon and Rat Kiley were playing catch with smoke grenades. Mitchell Sanders sat flipping his yo-yo. Norman Bowker and Kiowa and Dave Jensen were dozing, or half dozing, and all around us were those ragged green mountains."
             A passage that stuck with me was really just short and sweet it was in How To Tell A True War Story. O'Brien says, "War is nasty; war is fun. War is thrilling; war is drudgery. War makes you a man; war makes you dead." (p.80) This passage stuck with me because i cant imagine being in war myself and i have a deep respect for those that put their lives on the line to protect all of the citizens of this great nation. This passage really makes you think about all the things that come along with those serving and going into war.

Exploration 6 from Rachel Hopper

       One story that has really meant the most to me so far is Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong.  I think that it illustrates that women who are exposed to situations like this can learn to embrace it.  It shows that women can adapt.  Mary Anne's experiences in Vietnam did change her drastically.  Most people don't think that women can make that kind of change, but they are capable to adapt.  In the beginning, having Mary Anne around was good for the platoon when she arrived. She increased the morale.  She was intrigued by the war, which led to the beginning of her transformation.  She told her boyfriend Mark that she has never been happier than she was being there.  Like Rat says near the end of the chapter, "You come over clean and you get dirty and then afterward it's never the same.  Some make it intact, some don't make it at all.  For Mary Anne Bell, it seemed, Vietnam had the effect of a powerful drug: that mix of unnamed terror and unnamed pleasure that comes as the needle slips in and you know you are risking something.  The endorphins start to flow, and the adrenaline, and you hold your breath and creep quietly through the moonlit nightscapes; you become intimate with danger, you're in touch with the far side of yourself, as though it's another hemisphere, and you want to string it out and go wherever the trip takes you and be host to all possibilities inside yourself. Vietnam made her glow in the dark.  She wanted more, she wanted to penetrate deeper into the mystery of herself, and after a time of wanting became needing, which turned then to craving." He even tells the guys to get rid of their sexist attitude. It shows a different side of women that no one thought they really had.  Maybe not as desirable, but it exists.
     I think I connect best with Henry Dobbins.  I enjoy the simple things and I can be very sentimental as well as being superstitious.  Tim O'Brien describes him as, "always there when you need him, a believer in virtues of simplicity and directness and hard labor.  Like his country, too, Dobbins was drawn to sentimentality."  Dobbins would wrap his girlfriend pantyhose around his neck  Not only did it remind him of his girlfriend while he was away missing her, he believed that it also protected him for harm.  It also represents something more.  It symbolized the only little piece of home he still had.  My theory is that is why he still kept it after his girlfriend broke up with him and the reason why he still thought it would protect him.  Because like he said, "The magic doesn't go away."
      My favorite convention of narrative that Tim O'Brien uses is metaphor.  It is so prominent throughout the book.  In the time that I have been writing, I have discovered that I can be really efficient with my words.  Using metaphors is an efficient way of putting the reader in a situation, giving the reader a sensation, conveying emotion to the reader.  Tim O'Brien uses metaphor to describe Henry Dobbins: "he liked the memories that this inspired; he sometimes slept with the stockings up against his face, the way an infant sleeps with a flannel blanket, secure and peaceful." It conveys a calm feeling of serenity, the peacefulness that he felt when he had his good luck charm with him.  
         In the chapter "Notes",  I found one passage that really intrigued me.  "In ordinary conversation I never spoke much about the war, certainly not in detail, and yet ever since my return I had been talking about it virtually nonstop through my writing.  Telling stories seemed a natural, inevitable process, like clearing the throat.  Partly catharsis, partly communication, it was a way of grabbing people by the shirt and explain exactly what had happened to me, how I'd allowed myself to get dragged into a wrong war, all the mistakes I made, all the terrible things I had seen and done.  I did not look on my work as therapy, and still don't.  Yet when I received Norman Bowker's letter, it occurred to me  that the act of writing had led me through a swirl of memories that might otherwise have ended in paralysis or worse.  By telling stories, you objectify your own experience.  You separate it from yourself.  You pin down certain truths. You make up others.  You start sometimes with an incident that truly happened, like the night in the shit field, and you carry it forward by inventing incidents that did not in fact occur but that nonetheless help to clarify and explain."   Here there are things that I agree and disagree on.  I do think writing about our experiences is natural process, but for me writing is my therapy. Being able to communicate our experiences, to put it in words, is probably one of the most difficult things we could ever do. I have to objectify my own experience to help me deal with all the things that I have been through.  Sometimes when I go back and look at what I have written in the past, it almost seems like a lifetime ago when I wrote it.  This passage is something that really spoke to me when I was reading The Things They Carried.  

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Pardons by President Carter for those fleeing service. By Travis Baum

The controversy of pardons for those fleeing the draft started during the campaign of President Jimmy Carter. His pledge was to "pardon those who had unlawfully avoided military service either by not registering for the draft or fleeing to a different country. Although this may not seem too controversial, however some veterans considered President Carters actions to be an insult to those who did not flee and did fight in the vietnam war. Not everyone disagreed with Jimmy Carter either. Americans for Amnesty complained that "by excluding deserters, carter had not gone far enough". This pardon had allowed thousands of fleers to come back to their homes and countries without any worries of prosecution. Although most american draft avoiders were not charged, there were still a fair amount that were prosecuted. They had prosecuted 209,517 draft dodgers, but 360,000 were not charged with anything. This made the whole controversy worse because if you are going to prosecute some why not prosecute all? About 90% of fleers went to Canada  where after much controversy they were considered as legal immigrants. The Canadian border patrol were told to not ask many questions.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Marin Luther King gives "Beyond Vietnam speech -Jack Ryan

This speech was given on April 4th, 1967, it was held in Riverside church.  Dr.King gave this speech to speak out about the war in Vietnam.  Upon giving this speech he was rejected by many in the civil rights groups and some considered this to be a falling out in the public eye for Dr.King.  The speech caused so much uproar that President Johnson dis invited him to the white house.  One of the reasons for the speeches rejection is that it directly challenged the President who made many risks to support civil rights laws.  Dr.King believed that Vietnam was no more than american imperialism.  He felt that it was unfair for the government to be sending young black men to a foreign south Asian country to fight for rights that they themselves still didn't fully have.

Dr.King giving the speech 


Full speech here:

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Research into the Term "Collateral Damage" from Ruksana Kabealo

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "collateral damage" as: "injury inflicted on something other than an intended target; specifically :  civilian casualties of a military operation" [1]

Though the term has come into the common vernacular today, it's origins are military.

The first known use of this term by the United States was in 1968. It was originally used to describe civilian deaths caused by nuclear weapons [2]. The term became more commonly used during the Vietnam War, especially when talking about the use of widespread, imprecise killing tactics, such as carpet bombing (bombing areas rather than specific targets [3]) and the use of Agent Orange, which were common during that time. [4].

The controversy with the term begins early. Some sources claim the term was actually used among soldiers during the Vietnam War as a euphemism to refer to the intentional killing of noncombatants [5]. Critics of the term claim it dehumanizes deaths, and is used mostly by governments as a way to excuse wartime atrocities [6].

Another way of looking at "collateral damage" [8]

Determining what exactly constitutes "collateral damage" and what constitutes negligence (or, in extreme cases, a war crime) can be difficult. Collateral damage isn't addressed in international law. However, the Geneva Conventions contain certain restrictions on indiscriminate attacks. Article 57 of the 1977 Addition Protocol I to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, for example, states that "constant care shall be taken to spare the civilian population, civilians, and civilian objects" during international conflicts. Article 51 of the Geneva Conventions prohibits carpet bombing, as well as attacks whose effects cannot be controlled [7]. It's worth noting that both of these articles went into effect long before the start of the Vietnam War.


[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/collateral%20damage

[2] http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/collateral-damage

[3] http://www.crimesofwar.org/a-z-guide/carpet-or-area-bombing/

[4] http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/153476

[5] Anthony H. Cordesman (2003). The Iraq War: Strategy, Tactics, and Military Lessons. Praeger/Greenwood. p. 266.

[6] http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9742/m2/1/high_res_d/thesis.pdf

[7] http://www.crimesofwar.org/a-z-guide/392/#sthash.KeSjPqFG.pm5mHPdu.dpuf

[8] https://hateandanger.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/one-mans-collateral-damage-is-another-mans-son.jpg

The Fall of Saigon - by: Brady Hagman

The fall of Saigon is one of the most recognizable times of the war in Vietnam. The North Vietnamese, also known as the Vietcong, were storming the city and it was only a matter of time until they took over and brought their communist rule to the capital of South Vietnam. The American soldiers could only hold them off for so long. During this final push by the Vietcong, the largest helicopter evacuation in history took place. The U.S. embassy was the only place left that could save people from communist rule. Hundreds of thousands of people poured into the gates of the embassy climbing and jumping over the fence to get on a helicopter. Helicopters were coming and going all day but they couldn’t even make a dent in the amount of people trying to leave. The American helicopters evacuated over 110,000 Vietnamese refugees. One plane in the operation ended up crashing killing 155 people. A gate and a handful of American soldiers were the only thing holding the people of Saigon back. The helicopter pilots were getting delirious from flying all day in such a panic. When they would land their helicopters, they didn’t know if the structure was built to withstand the pressure. It was a constant worry of so many different things that could go wrong. The aircraft that the helicopters would return to was so full that they had to push off a few helicopters that were running low on fuel to make room for more drop offs. The ambassador of the U.S. embassy was the last American to be air lifted from Saigon. He got on a helicopter that was right on top of his office. That was the end of the evacuation. After the ambassador left, the marines took control of the embassy and locked everything off and waited on the roof. These soldiers didn’t know if they were going to be captured, killed or hopefully picked up to go home. Eventually the helicopters came back for them. Once these soldiers were being evacuated the people of Saigon broke into the embassy and began looting everything they could. It was a feel of defeat for the Americans knowing how many people were left behind. The city turned into chaos while the Vietcong rolled in on their tanks and other heavy military vehicles.

Helicopters landing on an aircraft carrier to drop off Vietnamese refugees

Medal of Honor Recipients by Andy Pickard

               Thomas W. Bennett is an American hero. He puts the life of his comrades in front of his own, and had a complete disregard for his own safety. On February 9th Bennett’s platoon was ambushed by the North Vietnamese. His platoon fell under heavy fire and were even under mortar and rocket fire. Three men went down wounded on the battlefield, and were sure to die with their position. However, Corporal Bennett had the bravery to run through the heavy fire to the wounded soldiers. He was a medical aidman, so managed to give all three of the soldiers lifesaving help. But his heroism didn’t end there, he continued to pick up each of the soldiers and carried them to safety so they could be evacuated and taken to safety. He took numerous trips back into heavy fire to carry the three men out. He continued to go back in to treat numerous more soldiers and recovering the bodies of many of his fallen comrades. The platoon was completely outnumbered, so five more men were wounded. Bennett ran to continue helping the men, he made it to the first. As he was going to the second man he was stopped and told that there was nothing he could do and the position of the fallen soldier was impossible to reach. He disregarded this remark and continued to save another life, as he was running he was wounded. Thomas W. Bennett died February 11th. He died an American hero and was awarded with the Medal of Honor on April 7th.

               William E. Adams was another American hero who risked his life to aid his fellow soldiers. He was a helicopter pilot who volunteered to fly a helicopter to evacuate three badly wounded soldiers. He was fully aware that the enemy force had a clear view of all routes as well as possessing numerous antiaircraft weapons. Adams was taking heavy fire but was not phased, he was determined to save the fallen men. He helped direct attacks of gunships while under heavy fire. He made it to the soldiers and waited for all of the men to get on. Shortly after he took off, Adams’ helicopter was hit by an antiaircraft weapon. Adams remained in relative control as he guided the aircraft down for a controlled crash. However, he was not able to control the helicopter. His helicopter exploded on May 25th, and everybody aboard was killed. Adams is an amazing human who has the courage to help others regardless of his own life, similar to Thomas W. Bennett.
Major William E. Adams