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Thirty years ago today

This beautiful icon was made by cannons_fan for the TV show Lost.  It seemed appropriate for today's post.

I know there are people on my flist who weren't even born in 1975, or who were too young to know what was happening in the world then.  For those of us of a certain age, however (particularly if you're American or French), does "Saigon" ring a bell?  Thirty years ago today the city fell, and the last American troops were evacuated by helicopter from the grounds of the American Embassy.  Remember the photos?

Vietnam was my generation's war, and to me, America's conflicts since then have seemed trivial in comparison.  Perhaps it's just the fact that I came of age during that conflict; that I was at university when the protests were going on; that I knew boys who were drafted and went to fight and ... sometimes ... didn't come home again.  Perhaps it's the fact that I remember the lies the politicians told us about Cambodia, and the horror that was born there and that we later learned to call the killing fields.

I'll be watching movies this weekend -- Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter, Full Metal Jacket, The Killing Fields -- as many of them as I can bear -- and I'll be remembering.

Comments

rosybug
Apr. 30th, 2005 10:26 am (UTC)
I've seen "Full Metal Jacket" and "The Killing Fields", both of which made a strong impression on me. But that's not the same as being there or having people you know serving there. You speak of coming of age then. It must have been both a literal and figurative coming of age - a loss of innocence.

Wars should not be forgotten. I don't mean the hatred or the conflict, but the loss and the sacrifice that seem to fade so quickly from people's collective memory.
aswanargent
May. 2nd, 2005 09:57 am (UTC)
It must have been both a literal and figurative coming of age - a loss of innocence.

Yes, and that's probably what was most shocking to us. Here we'd been raised (and taught in school) to think of the U.S. and Americans as being the ones in the white hats (in Westerns, the good guys always had white hats, while the villains' hats were invariably black); then Vietnam came along and suddenly it was as though we'd all fallen down the rabbit hole with Alice, and nothing was the way it seemed. If there are more than the usual number of cynics in my age group, you can probably trace it back to that loss of innocence that you speak of.
rosybug
May. 2nd, 2005 02:34 pm (UTC)
If there are more than the usual number of cynics in my age group, you can probably trace it back to that loss of innocence that you speak of.
That's interesting...I hadn't thought of it that way. I guess it leaves one not knowing who or what one can trust. And that must be particularly devastating if one thought one could trust certain institutions.

I think some people in my country had a similar experience with the demise of Apartheid. Many of those people are still in the denial stage of bereavement.
aswanargent
May. 2nd, 2005 02:56 pm (UTC)
Yes, that can't have been easy. But I'd think in Apartheid's case, the disillusionment would have been on the part of the older people, rather than the younger generation as Vietnam was for us.

You're a native of South Africa? How long/how many generations has your family lived there?
rosybug
May. 2nd, 2005 03:11 pm (UTC)
Yes, it is more the older people here.

My family's lived in Africa for over a hundred years. Four or five generations. It's been mostly in South Africa. Also a bit in what is now Zimbabwe (before the First World War) and in Namibia during the 1980's. I'm living near Cape Town now, but grew up in Johannesburg.

Your user page says you're in LA. Whenever I think of LA, I think of Jonathan Kellerman. I've been reading his books for twenty years!