Re: children of us soldiers in vietnam

Sandra Hollin Flowers (flowers_s@MERCER.EDU)
Wed, 09 Apr 1997 11:14:19 -0400 (EDT)

I was moved by your note, Jessica. As the parent of a Vietnam vet's child
--a child who himself is now an army veteran--I _assume_ that my son is
better informed than most of his peers about Vietnam. After reading what
you've said, though, I think I'll stop assuming and just ask him.

This subject is of continuing interest to me as I finish my novel of the
era, particularly since last week I finally came to grips with trying to
hear what the central male character had to say about Vietnam. As a woman
who was not there, the best I've been able to do was render his experience
in cliches, so I've taken another route.

At the same time, I also am still monitoring the knowledge level of my
college students. This morning, for instance, in my American lit class, we
were looking at the Grangerfor-Shepherdson feud chapter of _Huckleberry
Finn_ as a metaphor for the Civil War. The students were easily able to do
that but none could answer my question of why Huck was so reticent to talk
about the actual fighting. That led me to ask the class who among them was
the child of a Vietnam vet. I had four such students, all of whom said
their fathers either had never talked to them about the war or had talked
only in very general terms about things such as living conditions. Two
said their father and uncle would leave the room whenever anything about
the war came on television.

Again, not being a Vietnam veteran myself, I could hardly satisfy their
curiosity. But in relating some of the stories told in _Bloods_, I found
that they were all fascinated and were then able to make the connection
to Huck and to what I believe Twain to be saying about war in that chapter.

If you or anyone else can locate the sons & daughters group you mention, I
would be glad to know how to reach them. Although each year finds fewer
and fewer children of Vietnam vets in my classes, I find that students in
general are still interested in understanding both sides of the conflict
better. By the way, for a provocative literary treatment of an American's
understanding of the Vietnamese prospective of the war, be sure to Read
Robert Olen Butler's collection, _A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain_.

Sandra in Maconga

Sandra Hollin Flowers, Ph.D.
Deparment of English Voice: (912) 752-2813
Mercer University Fax: (912) 757-4956
Macon, GA 31210

On Sun, 6 Apr 1997, Jessica Russell wrote:

> Does anyone have any information on resources for the children of us
> soldiers who fought in the vietnam war? I was in DC in 1993 and was
> given a business card for an organization that I believe was called
> sons&daughters in touch. Does anyone know anything about that group
> and whether or not they still exist? Unfortunately, I lost the card.