The War That Never Ended
By Cadet CSM Danthone Buyacao
Farrington HS Army JROTC Governor’s Guard
reprinted with permission COL (Ret) Arthur N. Tulak, Cdr, Hawaii Commander Military Order of Foreign Wars
Submitted by NA Sita Menor
In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, the following essay by Cadet CSM Danthone Buyacao, Farrington HS JROTC, Honolulu, was one of five winning essays in tribute of the Vietnam War. Article is dedicated to all Veterans who served and/or supported the Vietnam War.
The War That Never Ended
War Veterans are respected. They are looked up to not only because of their training and experience, but also for the sacrifices they made – sacrifices that would affect them for a lifetime. However, this was not always so. There are men and women who sacrificed their lives for the sake of others, but were not commended as they should have been. They fought for a country that disgusted them. They served a country that disrespected them. They loved a country that did not honor them. They were the Vietnam War Veterans.
They served, they fought, they suffered, and they did not come home whole. They left pieces of themselves back in the war, and came back with scars. Many suffered wounds, many more were psychologically hurt, but all of them carried the losses of their comrades who couldn’t make it back to their families. “No one can come back from that and come back whole” (G. Chamberlin). Such were the burdens of the Vietnam War Veterans. I interviewed a few Veterans
who made the decision to become a soldier and risk their lives, and asked them to share their insight on the matter. I inquired what they thought of the Congress’ Decision to withdraw from the war, as well as their honest opinions on the overall view of the war itself.
The Veterans I interviewed were all volunteers and they shared many of their personal experiences. One experience in particular caught my attention because it was extremely unfair. It was an experience from Gary Chamberlin, a Veteran who commissioned at New Mexico Military Institute and graduated as a 20 year old 2nd Lieutenant. The story goes as follows: “After the war, I decided to go to college, because the Army pays you for a 4-year degree. All paid for. I remember being in the orientation where there were these two draft dodgers who were being treated especially kindly by some professors. They treated these draft dodgers like they were Gods of something…” (Gary Chamberlin). The draft dodgers abandoned their country by running to Canada during wartime, and they were being “treated like gods” compared to someone who shed blood, sweat, and tears for their country. The worship was misplaced. Frankly, I felt that it was a bit embarrassing coming from a well educated college professor. The Soldiers just followed orders because it was their duty. That should have been clear to the public.
The Vietnam War was not a popular war. Despite
Photo credit: Life Magazine, Issue 22