For many veterans of the Vietnam War, coming home was not about waving flags, proud friends and relatives, and open arms, as it was for the two veterans of Iraq who I helped to welcome home. Vietnam vets often felt, and were indeed treated, like pariahs even by family and friends. As Wisconsin veteran Bruce Canny told me recently, “Back then it was more or less to your advantage to keep it secret.” He recalls being shunned by one of his wife’s relatives, though they later became close.
It has been fifty years since Dow Chemical, the producer of napalm, was driven from the UW-Madison campus by the war’s opponents while, from towns across Wisconsin, men like Canny were being shipped to Vietnam – destined to come back changed, or not at all. Read More