Members of the Vietnam Veterans Chapter 779 Union County spoke with three groups of Linden High School students on Wednesday, May 23, in the school’s Media Center about their experiences during and after the war.
The visit was organized by social studies teacher Monica Goncalves to help bring to life the lessons the student have learned in history class. The visitors talked about how they entered the military and went to Vietnam, challenges they had while serving, and difficulties they had upon returning home. They took questions from the students and offered honest and sometimes brutal answers.
One veteran told about how he was spit on in uniform after returning home. One showed the students C-rations, the packaged food that service members lived on. One shared facts about the names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. All shared memories of the unbearable heat in Vietnam.
One said that when he returned home, the woman who became his wife didn’t want to marry him right away because the war had changed him. When a student asked if he ever saw a psychiatrist to deal with his struggles, he said he got help just seven years ago.
The three sessions were broadcast over Facebook Live for the public to watch, and other classes were able to watch and join in the discussion from elsewhere in the building.