Salt Lake City, UT, USA
My story is one of a very young boy growing up fairly peacefully in Southern Utah, seemingly far removed from the political and moral chaos that Viet Nam created in our collective conscience. I was born in 1967, the summer of love, some two years after my father served his four year tour in Viet Nam in the Navy.
From 1967 until 1975, there were events that transpired which left an overwhelmingly strong impression of a world that was desperately trying not to implode. My parents fuzzy black and white television would give this then young boy information that they either didn't understand or did not want to explain to such innocence. "Why were people coming home in body bags?", or "Why don't we like the Vietnamese?" or "Did you ever kill anyone when you were in Viet Nam?" were questions that I remember asking, but remember receiving no answers.
I remember seeing news articles in periodicals at the school library about how Cambodia was is chaos... or was it Laos. I knew that there were people returning from this strange land called Viet Nam with a lot of problems. It wasn't later that I found out that Mary Jane was not the name of a real person.
There was a sense of peace trying to break through the walls of ideology. There were colorful people visiting Southern Utah in spite of its remoteness: an endless procession of bikers and hippies and Hare Krishna's and hitchhikers would thumb, chant or throttle past the shade tree near my home to find Zion, or to just go anywhere, so long as it was away from where they had been.
People seemed to be wanting to escape from themselves back then. And from everything else. And from what I remember, I can't say as I blame them.