Baby Boomers And Millennials Reflect On The Vietnam War

Sep 19, 2017

As part of WPSU’s radio, television and web project “Vietnam: Telling the Pennsylvania Story,” WPSU intern Kennedey Bell went to downtown State College to ask people to reflect on the Vietnam War.  

It’s a sunny afternoon on College Avenue with cars and people passing by. I asked the younger people I talked with what they knew about the Vietnam War, which happened long before they were born.  

“In my opinion the war was kind of irrelevant I mean it was important because we needed to stop communism but I don’t think troops were entirely necessary. We could have just sent some people to train the natives.” -Spencer Nemriat, Charlottesville, VA

“The imperialism of the United States on Vietnam and the reason that caused the war was kind of unjust. And I think that the protesting was very telling of the time period because people wanted everyone to be treated fairly. I also don’t think that some of the protesting violence should have occurred." -Lydia Garris, Williamsport, PA

“To me the Vietnam war is mainly about the protest movement here in the United States and opposition to the Vietnam War. It was a time where a lot of people came together to try to stop something that was pretty horrific from happening. They weren’t always successful but they kept trying.” -Kevin Reining, State College

“I know some people around town who served. But I don’t know anything in detail about it and their experiences. My impression is that it was a very traumatic experience for those who fought and obviously many didn’t come home.” -Kristen Dreyer, State College

We asked those who lived through the Vietnam War to reflect on how the war affected their lives.

“I was graduating from high school at that time. They were doing the lottery, the draft. So that was one of the main reasons why I went to college. So it directly affected me at the time. I think the US wrought what it sowed as far as the outcome came because they got nothing out of it besides dead humans.” -Gary Stewdar, Belleville

“I know there was a lot of death on both sides. I think that it was underestimated as far as the enemy that we fought. -Travis Sheaffer, Lewistown

“It was just a thing that people had to do they got brought into it and told that they had to go fight in a war.  I know a lot of people didn’t like it and they thought it was just a push forward that shouldn’t have happened. War is for a purpose and it had its purpose at the time and not everyone liked the reason why.” -Frank Baranowksi, Milwaukee WI

“I was in college during the Vietnam war. Were any of your friends drafted? They came back nutcases. I’m not kidding you. They became bikers and got stuck on heroin. What did you think while it was happening? It was a police action. BLEEP. It should have never happened.” -Bruce Silcox, Bucks County