Contacting Veterans

August 26th, 2004  

Topic: Contacting Veterans

Hello all.

I run a site for Vietnam Reenacting and Living History, so this sort of thing has been in my blood for a while. One of my largest problems though is getting first hand info. I must admit that the reference books I have always provide excellent sources for technical information, but I often find myself wondering more about what actual soldiers did, felt, and experienced.

I don't have a problem finding email addresses for Vets, but it seems that breaking the ice with them is extremely difficult.

I always ensure that I am respectful of their wishes to not discuss their time in country. I always include the fact that I'll understand if they do not wish to revisit the past, but I thought that at least one may be willing to share some experiences with me and answer some questions.

By nature, so far, I've found VN vets to be highly suspicious. As one told me, it has a lot to do with the government and the society at the time. And although I can reassure them to the point that they are willing to talk to me, they never really wish to get into it.

I'll understand if this is the way it's going to be, and I'll do my best to extrapolate the info from books, but I really want to make sure that I do these guys justice when I get my uniform on. Believe in the war or not. They fought and many died, for things they felt they should do. In the least, it deserves our respect. And normally, deserves our praise.

Thanks for the help ladies and gentlemen.
August 27th, 2004  
Well, alot of veterans of course felt betrayed by America, and depending on which philosophy of "Went went wrong" they adopted, will react differently. Above all just be yourself and convey your respect and admiration for what they did and how they did it, and eventually I think somone will want to help you.
November 2nd, 2009  
just a suggestion,if you can get around to the "Moving Wall" display that travels around the country I'm sure you could find a veteran or two that would be willing to talk with you, or if you cn get to the real Wall in DC there would be many there too that you most likely could start up a chat or two.
Take note and or a tape recorder if they don't mind you're doing that.
November 2nd, 2009  
PM me. I'll see if I can help a bit.
November 2nd, 2009  
PM me if the below interests you.

I am by no way a Vietnam vet (I am German) but I am running projects with some of them and then, some of them have - interesting from my POV - stuff to share (no guarantees you will like it, though).

November 5th, 2009  
I just saw that the original date on this thread is from '04. I'm not sure the OP is still around.
rattler, what do you do with 'Nam vets? PM me if you'd rather not post in the forum.