29 May 2020

Published May 27, 2020 by rochellewisoff

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The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit.

PHOTO PROMPT © David Stewart

Click the Frog…you know you want to. 

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

AUTUMN FRAGRANCE

“How are you, GI Joe?”

Even though we listened to her every day, nobody took her seriously.

“They have forgotten about you back home. Your sacrifice means nothing to your people.”

Let her spout her bullshit, we looked forward to the music from home.

“Your great nation has abandoned you.”

After months of being shot at by the VC and suffering jungle rot, my orders came. I was headed for home!

At Travis I was met not with ticker tape and hurrahs, but with protesters screaming, “Get back on the plane, baby killer!”

Hanoi Hannah was onto something, after all.

***

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101 comments on “29 May 2020

    • Dear Neil,

      Vietnam was truly a fiasco, leaving no real winners. Americans have gone out of their way to make it up to the vets, but I fear it’s a day late and a dollar short, as the saying goes. Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • War brings out the worse in people. No one wins (perhaps some elite do). People really aren’t fighting for what they think they are and are pushed into doing things they might not want to do. Topical.

    Well written Rochelle.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Hi Rochelle,

    You keep saying this words… (the link is fixed now) I don’ think you know what they mean. All I get s a picture of a frog, not the usual suspects and links to their stories. It’s 9:56 New Zealand time on the 27th of May. God only knows what that is where you are.

    Good 100 on Hanoi Hannah. (Is that a Jewish name?). I agree with NeilMacdon.

    Cheers,

    Doug

    Like

    • Dear Doug,

      Try clicking the frog now. On my end it is working and should take you to the Hollywood squares as Russell calls it. Perhaps you need to refresh your browser.

      At any rate, writing such a story is a risk. Yes, it’s a Jewish name, few are aware she shortened it from Hanoi Hannahvitz.

      As I reply it’s 05:36 and the pale purple light of dawn has yet to shine through my window. Happy to read your voice here. Thank you.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

  • This story brings back memories of the treatment of military personnel. I was the recipient of many of those barbs. What a difference we received after the 911 incident and the Desert Storm Gulf war, where I was treated exactly the opposite. As for Hanoi Hannah, this is another example of the terrible effect the media can have on morale. And it is just as prevalent today as ever on the divisiveness it can have as well as the good. Good historical fiction although very little fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Jan,

      Speaking of media and morale….;) I’m glad the overall attitude toward the military has changed, but what we did to Vietnam vets can never be fully erased.
      Thank you re my ‘fiction’. ❤

      Like

  • Great story, Rochelle. I do take issue with some of the comments,
    The Vietnamese see the conflict as a victory, not a tragedy at all. They successfully fought off the French, the Japanese, the French again, and finally the Americans. We tend to look at this was through the same distorted lens that got us in there in the first place. Vietnam wanted democracy and independence. We gave them Diem, an indulgent CIA-installed puppet. Ho Chi Minh, like Mao, promised to kick out the western imperialists. He kept that promise and now Vietnam is its own thing. Remember too that the US dropped more bombs on Laos than it did on Vietnam. In fact, it dropped more bombs on Laos than on it did on all of Europe and Japan combined through the entire course of World War 2. Be nice to think that the US learned its lesson, but what they learned was to get rid of the draft and remember to say thank you to the maimed young men and women who are sent on these mercenary expeditions.

    Liked by 2 people

  • Great job, Rochelle. Vietnam seems a long time ago, when we’ve been embroiled in the latest war against the coronavirus. That said, I’m embroiled in WWI research. Time goes by so quickly. My kids constantly remind me of this. My memories are ancient history to them.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Rowena,

      I’m sure my memories are ancient history to you. 😉 I do remember the Vietnam war era since it took up a lot of my adolescence. My father fought in WWII, and I remember thinking how his memories were so far away and long ago, when in fact, at the time it was about 20 years prior. Kids do have a way of reminding us how fleeting is the time.
      Thank you so much for your lovely comments.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • I remember. It was the war that took so many of the young men who would be my age now.
    And the irony, to me, is that they were reviled for being “baby killers” when they were barely older than babies themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Well written, Rochelle. Good idea to tie-in Hanoi Hannah with the protests in your fiction. The young men who fought were just young men trying to survive. Most of the guilt for that conflict lies with their rulers. The only way we will ever see an end to war is when individuals refuse to take up arms. Hard to imagine, but I pray it will happen eventually.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Fake news! Actually, that was real news. American soldiers in Vietnam got shafted from all angles. As a pacifist, I’ve never understood celebrating the military, but the treatment returnees from Vietnam got was brutal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Nobbin,

      Being married to a Lifer I have mixed emotions. Sadly the war still rages in the heads of those sent over to take part in an exercise of futility only to be vilified when they returned. All too real. Thank you for coming by.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • And before her was Tokyo Rose during ww2. At least when the troops returned from ww2, nobody spat on them. The poor kids coming back from Vietnam didn’t deserve the treatment they got. Good stuff, Rochelle.

    Like

  • Dear Rochelle,

    We all know there was no good in sending the US to Vietnam. That said, they did, and there is no rhyme nor reason to blaming kids who were forced to go fight there in the first pace.. Love that you picked this part of the story to tell.

    Shalom and lotsa free love,

    Dale

    Liked by 1 person

  • Well done and important, Rochelle. War is always a fiasco, and some wars are worse in that regard than others. It is always a disaster. There are ALWAYS better solutions, if we only seek them. Thank you for shining a light. Na’ama

    Liked by 1 person

  • Wow. This is a tough one for me.
    I am an Vietnam ‘era’ vet who worked for US DoD for 45 years. Lately I’ve taken to reading Nam-era, in country, warrior memoirs (what a mish-mash!).
    One of my favs is a novel, “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien. Currentlyd, I’m reading “Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam (American Empire Project) by Nick Turse. It makes me sick and I have to stop for a while.
    I consider myself a life-long warrior willing to kill to defend America. But…
    regarding what I consider ‘my war’ (The Nam), I can only swallow hard and look down. The Vietnam War was not America’s finest hour, either in the lies that got us into it, the execution of its terror, nor the cowardly resolving of it.
    We lost that war on moral grounds. And yes, we did learn. But too many of us seem not to care and blame the VC or NVA (also warriors). Lessons learned are too often ignored.
    I recall this trope, “My country right or wrong.” I didn’t see it like that 50 years ago and I still do not.
    Aim High! (For the record, I was never mistreated during those years. Not sure why.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Bill,

      I was a teenager during those times and really couldn’t tell which end was up using a compass. I remember asking my dad, a WWII Purple Heart vet, what he thought about the war to which he quoted “My country right or wrong.” At the time I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I know how I feel about it now. Probably very much the same as you do.

      My husband is a Vietnam era vet also. He put in for the patrol boats but for some reason his orders mysteriously disappeared. His brother, on the other hand, did go and is only now opening up about it.
      I’m glad you were never mistreated. My husband was.
      In the book I’m working on, one of the characters is a Vietnam vet with PTSD. I’ve watched a lot of videos and read some articles. Still I’ll never fully know what it was like.
      I apologize (kind of) if my story has dredged emotional wounds.
      Thank you for taking the time to leave such a comment. Perhaps I should look into the books you mention for my character.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Thanks, Rochelle.
    I have no emotional wounds regarding this topic and I liked your piece. I like to read and to write about it, and to share my perspective(s) (got a chapbook on it).
    My problem is my own cognitive dissonance. I see things both ways and I’m conflicted. In some ways I regret things like not being a grunt in-country, but as for vets of that time, PTSD (what George Carlin and I prefer to call shell-shock) is a real thing.
    Apparently, one of the issues that currently upsets those who were there (and did that) is when people falsely claim to be Vietnam (in country) vets. I agree with them, but the irony of it captures my curiosity.

    Shalom,
    Bill

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think we’re either in the same boat or our boats are in close proximity. I agree, being a Vietnam era vet is not the same thing as having been there.
      The book I’m writing centers around PTSD, the main character having been molested as a child and her husband, Vietnam vet. She is being treated for anorexia. Her story is basically my own, but his is neither mine nor my husband’s. How I’ll resolve their relationship and bring the book to a satisfying end is still hovering in the air. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  • Nice to see she put her “private lessons in English” to good use…

    Vietnam was one of those ones where lots of people pitched in, many people at home didn’t think they should be there anyway, lots of the indigenous population thought the same, lots of people died and it just sort of petered out.

    Liked by 1 person

  • As usual, your story rang a bell somewhere in my brain, and I’m so glad you include further information on the characters. Where would we be without those who are willing to serve? I respect and appreciate our military and the sacrifices of so many. Sadly, the Vietnam vets suffered on the field and off. History and hindsight can be rather harsh I think. Thank you for your thought-provoking and extremely interesting stories, Rochelle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Brenda,

      I wish there was some way to truly make up to these vets what was taken from them. Saying “Thank you for your service” sounds hollow. Thank you for your affirming comments/compliments. 😀

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • And still the cruelty of war continues around the globe, those in power it seems never learn. The bombing of Syria and other countries is just the same as firebombing Vietnam

    Liked by 1 person

  • Rochelle,
    Such a powerful, heart-moving, and educational story with so many layers. I’d never heard of Hanoi Hannah before so had to look her up. It gives a whole new angle to the idea of propaganda doesn’t it? I like to think we’re getting better about the whole mess, including *welcoming* our soldiers home, but we still have a ways to go. Looking forward to a day with no more war. Even if it never comes, it’s worth wishing and “fighting” for.
    Shalom,
    Anne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Anne,

      Do you suppose there is such a place, Toto? I won’t go into platitudes or ranting about the senselessness of war, although I could. I’ll simply say thank you to a wonderful, affirming comment.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • Very sad, not just the war, but also the unwarranted stigma those who gave up their lives to be in it had to bear. Imagine the price their families had to pay, not just with having to deal with their PTSD, but also this stigma!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Great use of historical fiction in this one Rochelle. I didn’t realise she passed away only a few years back. One of the books I read this year was The Sympathizer which was the debut novel by Vietnamese American professor Viet Thanh Nguyen. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and is a tragicomic novel that presents the view from the Vietnamese perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  • We learned so much from this conflict, but at what cost? And I am not just talking about the mental pain inflicted upon soldiers that were just doing their job and had already been through so much but through the years to today when the subsequent rhetoric of supporting the troops and flag waving often becomes a veil of illicit behavior…uh oh…think you might have gotten me started…
    Good story, thought provoking, indeed. 🙂

    Like

  • At times I feel its very sad to be a soldier. What a doomed life they live whether they win the war or die while fighting. And this feeling is all the more prominent when the war is fought for the political agenda. The sense of patriotism simply dies at the altar of the vested interests.

    Like

  • Better late than never, right? Last week was a slog, but I wanted to write something for this and read what everyone else wrote. Thanks again for choosing my picture. This is a great story, too. Psychological warfare is most effective when there’s truth behind it. It was a great injustice to take out all the anger on the soldiers instead of the administration making them fight.
    -David

    Liked by 1 person

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