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?Dear America?

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“Dear America” is a non-fiction book about the Vietnam War, which is edited by Bernard Edelman. The book boasts a unique style incorporating letters from soldiers serving at the war in Vietnam(Berntzen, Kjær, & Ba%u030Artvedt, 2001).. All these letters are directed to the soldiers’ family and friends and by reading them the reader gets a convincing and personal picture of the war. The Vietnam conflict was between the communist North Vietnamese and South Vietnamese, which was allied to the United States. The United States’ involvement in the war was an attempt to stop the spread of communism. It is evident that the non-civilized Americans who were far from the war zone dissented and did not affirm the government or the soldiers that were directly involved in the war. “Dear America” was published to illustrate the part of the war that is overlooked and unseen by many people in American. The author puts together various letters to illustrate the real picture of American soldiers who have roamed into a detested war.

The author of this book uses letters composed by American soldiers to their families, friends and better halves while fighting in Vietnam to phrase the feelings and familiarities in the war field. These letters are firsthand accounts of the Vietnam War and are unfettered by the media. Therefore, they provide raw intuition into War. A veteran’s present day remembrance of his time in the Vietnam War may be imprecise because of the memory limitations or difficulty in dealing with such a painful time in his life history. However, these letters assist the reader to view to experience the war through the eyes of a soldier as the war continues before him. Through the letters, we can witness the trials and misfortunes that the soldiers, some of whom were still young, experienced as they engaged in battles in a rattling controversial war.

This paper is based on a few letters that are likely to strike the attention of many readers. Among these letters is the letter was composed by 2Lt. Robert C. Ransom Jr. Ransom Jr. writes to his mother and fathers. Ransom Jr. just entered Vietnam and he writes that he is eventually given a unit. The soldier writes, “For the people I’ve talked to I’ve come up with some new ideas on the war” (Edelman, 1985, p.128). Ransom Jr. writes that that no one is loyal about to the war apart from for the people that are charged up to kill. The soldier explains that he has realized that individuals get enthusiastic for two reasons. The first, for self-preservation, i.e. by thinking that if they do not kill their enemies, the enemy will eventually kill them. The second reason is retaliation against enemies after witnessing the death of a friend or fellow soldier. Ransom Jr. writes about his unawareness about what is happening back at home in the US. However, the soldier also talks about how he is enthralled with the Vietnamese war. Ransom Jr. learns about the intelligent burrowing and that the US military is the most unassailable globally. Unfortunately, Ransom Jr. passed on at young age of 28.

The second letter that describes the hardships the soldiers experience in Vietnam is the one composed by 1Lt. Victor David Westphall III. Westphall III writes to his brother, Dougto explain that he was given a task to lead his army unit through the forest in the country deeply in way. Vietnam. Westphall III tells that he applied his techniques of identifying the foe through footsteps in the soil. The soldier is concerned that at any moment a sniper could possibly end his or any one of his unit member’s lives. When Westphall III and his platoon got the river, they realized that it was impassable. Westphall III writes that he had to send for a helicopter since there were 30 instances of immersion foot. The immersion foot medical condition results from the feet being periled by wetness or wetness for a lengthy period. The soldier talks about his feet being in a state that they could crack open, and his stomach gouged with hunger and diarrhea. His back was injured, while his hands were torn by the forest. In addition, his face was chipped by mosquitoes. Westphall III writes, “I desired greatly to throw down everything, slump into the water of the paddy, and sob” (Edelman, 1985, p.99) Westphall III’s letter is remarkable for many reasons. For Westphall III to lead his platoon through Vietnamese forests he must have been very courageous, but the task was indeed troublesome. In fact, the soldier is cautious that he could die at any moment while accomplishing his task. Westphall III also passed on at the age of 28.

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Dan Bailey composes the third letter that arouses the reader’s curiosity. Bailey writes to his mother, first, about how his unit was shot and destroyed by the VC in a nine-hour firefight. The soldier tells his mother to visit the church and ask all the people to send him old clothes to cater for the Vietnamese orphans. Bailey writes that the orphans spend their nights on floors and that they do not have much to eat. What is so striking about this letter is the information that even after experiencing hardships, Bailey still has the affection to help the struggling children in Vietnam. Bailey also lost his fellow soldiers and girl, but he still has the politeness to assist children who did not have good lives in Vietnam. Despite the hardships Bailey experiences, his benignity is significant amid the Vietnamese crisis. Unfortunately, Bailey suffered from post-traumatic stress due to the Vitnamese War (Edelman, 1985).

Each soldier will fight the war for his or her own reason. Some believe that the war is necessary, while others simply believe it is a waste of American lives. There is evident lack of maturity presented in most of the letters in the form of uncontrolled agitation to go to war, while other soldiers are complaining about the hardships they experience. A reader can therefore realize the predetermined notion that many adolescents held that going to war in Vietnam would turn them heroes. On the contrary, their experience in Vietnam ultimately dismisses this opinion. Some letters, such as Bailey’s, are astoundingly written with a feel of knowledge and expertise, in spite of the younger age of the writer—Bailey sees the war as the opportunity to help the unfortunate orphans.

It is stupefying how a percentage of soldiers so responsively reformed to a way of life that was much different from the one they were used to. After reading the letters in “Dear America,” the reader visualizes once beautiful scenery, chivvied by the atrocities of the Vietnam War. Westphall III and Bailey’s letters reveal an outlook of the hardships associated with war. For instance, the innocent women and kids watched as their husbands, brothers, and fathers were killed the death. Many of the letters are composed with much agitation, demonstrating that a war zone is the worst part to live in in the world, while other soldiers’ letters bring out the feeling of heroism.

After reading the letter in “Dear America,” I better understood the bitterness the veterans have when recounting their war experience in Vietnam. I realize that the level of sacrifice that the soldiers endured, as well as the lack of gratitude by the civilians for such efforts is sadly high. Many letters reveal that the veterans were given had no option that to conquer the various physical tribulations of fighting and the psychological psychic trauma, which inescapably went together with such, closeness to death every day. The letters also reveal that it was important for their survival the veterans had to unite with the aim of achieving the mutual objective of being able to go back to their loved ones and continue living normally. The distress brought about by the isolation from the way of life they only knew before going to Vietnam contributed to loneliness, which increased the soldiers’ mental burden as they struggled for their country. Many letters also reveal the internal war that brings about such feelings as courage, fear, and confusion. This implies that there are letters that I admire, and others that I dislike from the collection in “dear America.” Despite the hardships, for the veterans fighting while understanding the benefits of participating in the Vietnam War, “Dear America” is an illustration of bravery and honor. However, when looking at the effects of war on children, women, and the environment, Vietnam Wars is nothing but a demonstration of a frustrated world.

The letter that touched me the most is Dan Bailey’s. Bailey experiences the worst of the Vietnam War. For instance, he is involved in a firefight that goes on for nine hours, which he survives—his unit is shot dead and he remains alone. I can imagine how scared Bailey because after losing all of his accomplices in war. My guesses are justified by Bailey’s ultimate condition, when he suffers from post-traumatic stress. Despite all that he goes through, Bailey has a kind heart, instead of seeking to revenge, he does his best to help others, such as the suffering Vietnamese orphans—he wants them fed and clothed, what a soldier! Such cases rarely happen so Bailey’s letter touches me the most among all the letters in “Dear America.”

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