An Ethnographic Study of Vietnam Veterans

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An Ethnographic Study of Vietnam Veterans Given the opportunity to study an ethnographic subculture, I decided to examine a group of people who have been some of the greatest heroes and yet, least rewarded people in United States history, Vietnam veterans. I have always been interested in learning about veteran war history as my grandfather was a veteran of the Korean War, my friend’s dad was in World War II, and my uncle Juan is a veteran of the Vietnam War. However, it was only after talking to my uncle recently that I decided to concentrate my focus on the Vietnam War specifically due to the fact that it is a war which differed greatly in many ways from any other in U.S. history. Vietnam veterans have always been looked upon differently than other veterans of war because they fought for a cause that was heavily debated and extremely controversial on the home front. Vietnam posed the first situation where a great number of people dodged the draft by fleeing to Canada because they did not agree with the purpose of the war. Unlike World War I, World War II, and the Korean War, Vietnam was unsupported by a great majority of U.S. citizens. It was a war fought for reasons that were not clear, a war fought for far too long in many opinions, and a war that produced over one million military casualties. Because of these ideas about the war, Vietnam veterans are members of a group of people who were separated, either voluntarily or by force (in the draft) from the citizens of the United States who opposed the conflict. On November 24th, 2007 I interviewed my uncle officially in an attempt to get a first hand account from the point of view of someone who experienced the war and belongs to this subculture. His accounts of both combat during war and the experience upon his return home opened my eyes to what it is really like to be a Vietnam veteran. My uncle

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