“Back there I could fly a gunship, I could drive a tank, I was in charge of million dollar equipment. Back here I can’t even hold a job washin’ cars.” The dichotomy runs deeper, for American John Rambo, Vietnam war hero and Congressional Medal of Honor winner, returns to a society that bears little resemblance to the military culture of brutal discipline and clearly defined rules: follow orders, complete the mission, watch my back, I’ll watch yours. In post-Vietnam War America, soldiers are an unfortunate reminder of America’s shame, and like old racehorses with broken legs, are neglected and effectively left to die. But for this veteran, being ignored was something he could handle. Being disrespected – that was something he just couldn’t allow. Having lost everything – his friends, his career, his purpose in life – all he had left was his honor. He was not about to let anyone take that away from him.
— References —
– First Blood, Kotcheff (1982)
– Iraq Versus Vietnam: A Comparison of Public Opinion, Newport and Carroll (2005) – http://news.gallup.com/poll/18097/iraq-versus-vietnam-comparison-public-opinion.aspx
– Did Vietnam Change the Way We Welcome Veterans Home?, Hsia (2012) – https://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/11/did-vietnam-change-the-way-we-welcome-veterans-home/
– Lone Survivor, Berg (2013)
– Veterans draw comparisons between Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Rockett (2015) – http://www.dailypress.com/news/military/dp-nws-vietnam-iraq-afghanistan-20151113-story.html
– Iraq War Veterans – Paving the Way for How we Treat those Returning Home, National Veterans Foundation (2017) – https://nvf.org/iraq-war-veterans-returning-home/