Thomas Rosch, Vietnam veteran
Minneapolis, Minnesota, Hennepin
Lately my wife has been urging me to contribute memories of my tour in Vietnam, of which I have many. I kept thinking, what could I write that would be anything different from scores of similar experiences we all shared?
Yes, I witnessed death in its'raw form. I quickly discovered how to keep my emotions in perspective.Afterall, it was war right? A young childs' failed attempt to cross US Highway One, and loosing her young life under the massive wheels of a duce and a half.The communal life we lived with the mix of ethnic backgrounds. The enevitable fighting as a result was no shock to me.Sometimes in this surrogate community life, we killed one another.The stifling heat, the flies, and bugs so large, with wheels, they would rival a Volkswagen Beetle.
At times I was on the razors' edge and conversely so withdrawn and depressed, I wonder how I functioned.Fear? Mabye, but sometimes in reflection I believe it was more commitment. It was 1968, I was barely out of High school, oldest male in my family, I was born task oriented and new how to challenge myself. Wow, I was filet mignon for Uncle Sam and boy, did he know it!
There are some thoughts that continue to trouble me.I think war is a choice made by Nations and their Goverments, that could in fact, be avoided.Nevertheless, amoung all the wars in past history, with the exception of Vietnam, there seemed to be this plausible reason I could reckon with. Vietnam to this day, for me remains confused emotions. Why? Mabye I ought to stop searching, because it's over...isn't it?
In my life, with regards to serving in this time frame, I remain disappointed. I have often felt deserted as a Vietnam Veteran. For men and women willing to risk it all, our severance package was often rejection .
In my heart, I know I have been waiting for this opportunity to express how I feel. But I think that was my problem, waiting. On this Veteran's Day I declare to contact a fellow Veteran and offer a simple, Thank You. I create nothing by waiting.
Now I want to take this opportunity, first of all to thank the Stanley Foundation, American Radio Works, and M.P.R. for creating this forum so that some of us would express our feelings.But most of all, to you , who willingly served in Vietnam with me.
This reflection is dedicated to the late Pvt. Walter "Stoney" Brown, US Marine Corps. A school mate and friend who tangled with a land mine in 1966 with his name on it. Thomas C. Rosch U.S. 56503736