Letter from Son of Vietnam Vet to Daughter of Vietnam Vet

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Excerpt from letter: (Given permission to share)

Hi Thuy,

I stumbled onto your website. My dad fought in the Vietnam war as a teenager in the 70s, and I myself have been a missionary in Vietnam and China for the past 10 years, so I’m familiar with both sides of that war. I’ve been opposed to torture since first grade when I watched a classmate being tortured. But it seems useless trying to convince most people that torture is wrong because they will just argue with you for why it is justified. But I have seen the effectiveness of changing people’s views by letting them see/hear firsthand the perspective of the other side through their story of suffering. Anyway, I just wanted to congratulate you for what you are doing.

Oh, and BTW, I wanted to say sorry for the way you were treated during your childhood. I want to say that I wish I could have lived in your town so I could have stood up for you or been your friend, but I don’t know if that’s what I would have really done (but I would do it now at least), so all I can say is I’m sorry for how people treated you and that I didn’t stand up for you and that I will at least do it now.

Thank you David for sharing with me.  From a fellow child of a Vietnam Vet, that means a lot to me. Much of what you are referring to actually came from adults although some youth were taught this behavior too. Today it is many of the youth who are the ones educating other adults. It is not always wisdom comes from age, but rather out of the mouth of babes shall come forth wisdom. I appreciate your letter and your real honesty. Although I do experience it at times today, this was many years ago now that I initially experienced this. However, you still took the time to say this to me today. As you are proud of your father, he should be of you.

Sons and Daughters of Veterans, Advocates for Peace and Healing for all

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Healing My Wounds of War, Reflections from a Daughter of a Vietnam Veteran

This was written by Thuy Smith about her experience. All Rights Reserved.

You may share this page by using the Social Media forward tools, but may not use otherwise without permission.

It starts with Thuy’s reflection as a child growing up with an American Vietnam Veteran and Vietnamese mother, to an Amerasian experience / perspective, About her Father, about her parent’s falling in love in Vietnam, returning to Vietnam for the first time in 20 some years, Letter to her mother about leaving her parents behind, the prejudice she experienced, a Healing her Vietnam through finding healing, embracing her identity, and forgiveness.

(Thuy’s Personal Reflections)

holding up incense
Burning incense while reflecting on all lives that were lost during the war in Vietnam at the first official Vietnam Era Veteran’s Day Educational Event organized and hosted by TSIO.ORG.

Daughter of a Vietnam Veteran writes and reads local proclamation

*Although we proposed and advocated for a bill on the state level that passed in 2009, I felt it was important this year to have a local proclamation to bring it closer to the people in their communities. Two city councils adopted it this year. This clip is my reading of the proclamation at this year’s Vietnam Veteran Day’s Celebration.

I also wanted to make sure my original intent to Include ALL aspects of people connected to the war and the Vietnam ERA in our organization’s mission in  bridging the gap.

See complete follow-up of our event here

Learn more about our organization

Korean Veteran- my first interview, his first time telling his story

Korean Veteran- my first interview, his first time telling his story

I asked an Advisor of my organization about a Korean Veteran I could interview for my new show since Korean Armistice day was coming up in two weeks. I was very lucky & honored to be able to witness the signing of the Korean Armistice Day bill for WI. This bill was signed at the same time our Vietnam Veteran’s day bill was signed that we proposed and advocated for.

I never really talked with a Korean Veteran in-depth before. I mostly talked with Vietnam Veterans or Veterans that were in Iraq. However, I always had a real interest in the Korean Veteran. That “police Action” as it was called, was also known as the forgotten war. If Vietnam veterans thought they didn’t receive much room in the “text books”, the Korean Veterans had much less, if anything on their behalf. No, they didn’t receive the negative feedback like some Vietnam Veterans received, but they came back & “just went on” quietly with their lives with little or no acknowledgment of their service. All this came right after the success of World War II in which victory was declared, unlike Korea.  Soldiers didn’t return home to victory parades, and then it wasn’t long after that Vietnam overshadowed the conflict in Korea.

So my advisor (CVSO) called me up with a Veteran he had in mind, Harold Jackson. Turns out the man never told his story before, let alone to a stranger, let alone for a TV interview. When I first called him he appeared hesitant, but as I got to talking with him, he seemed to become more relaxed. However, it wasn’t a done deal yet. So I encouraged him and told him I’ll send him some information about the show, etc. and let him get back to me.  The day he received my letter, he called me back and agreed to come on.

Harold, also known as Joe by his friends and family, entered the Korean War in September 27, 1952. He served in the war for about nine months. Harold was put into the 32nd regiment and 7th Infantry Division.  Soldiers from the 7th Division were the only soldiers who reached the Yalu River in Korea. He was wounded twice while in Korea. Please go to our website Tribute page to learn more about Harold’s experience-  http://veterans.tsio.org/2/post/2011/08/first-post.html

Harold shared more at ease during the interview as time went on. I really wanted to understand the experience of returning home and the transition back into everyday life again. Harold brought up on his own how there were many guys who returned home with struggles and different issues. I asked him if he meant PTSD. He said it was. I was really impressed that a Korean Veteran not only acknowledged this, but was the very one who brought it up. I say this because I’ve met Vietnam Veterans who still allow shame and stigma to be attached to addressing the issue of PTSD. They can acknowledge the soldiers returning from the wars today having PTSD, but tend to shy away from really talking about it within the Vietnam Veteran population.  The thing to remember is that PTSD is NOT something WRONG with you, a weakness. It is a natural reaction to an experienced trauma life event.  I’ve reminded some Vietnam Veterans to be careful, how easy it can be to perpetuate that shame and stigma, keeping others from coming forward for the help they need.  “This” is what has been the very “thing” that was debilitating for different veterans from the Vietnam era. They were not given the permission as encouraged today to “get the help” they need, nor were there the resources as there are today. So I have to say I was quite surprised as well as admire Harold for bringing this up.

Harold also impressed me by his statement about the enemy at the time, “Well them guys were doing what they had to do too”. Wow, the reflection and humility, along with the humanity in that statement.

Harold was awarded two purple hearts and two bronze stars, but never once did I ever feel he tried to say he was a “war hero” and believe me, I have run into that type of thing before.  He shared his experience in complete humility.  This is what I loved best about Harold. I can also tell that he is a character. I think we could become good buds and I would be honored to hang out and talk with him some more.

Happy first official Korean Armistice Day Harold!

July 27th of each year.