"No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness." Aristotle

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Is It A Simple Answer?

I wanted to explore a subject today.....I was watching a show earlier and it was talking about the differences in the mindset of WWII Vets and Vietnam Vets. I found it extremely interesting.
Growing up, I knew alot of both "groups" of people. Being a preachers daughter I was exposed to many different types of people.

The one thing I have found to be true is most WWII Vets have no troubles talking about what they experienced and saw, whereas there are very few Vietnam Vets who will.
Why is this?

In both Wars, horrible, horrible things were seen and done. I don't think as humans, we can say any one was worse than the other.
What then, is the reason for the mindset difference? Why do more Vietnam Vets struggle with what happened?
Can we simply chalk it up to the differences in the generations? A great part of me wants to say yes, yes we can.

Take a look back with me, if you will.

In the 1940's Farming was the mainstream. From a very early age men were taught to be strong, not only physically but mentally. Farm work is hard work, period. It builds character, strength, determination, among many other things. They were not "spoiled" or "babied" by their mothers, their role models were their fathers. They worked side by side, ensuring that their livelihood remained intact.

When they were sent off to war, it was an honor to fight for their Country. They believed in what they were doing. (perhaps this last sentence hits it right on the head???)
WWII changed America drastically. In every imaginable way, from home life, economics, civil rights, weapons development, the list could go on...

As each generation came along after this one, remember after the war was the start of the baby boomer era, our mindset changed.

By the Vietnam Era, the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing, our Space Program was expanding, the "hippie" culture was flourishing, Freedom of Speech was being exercised, etc. Farming was almost a thing of the past, more and more people were living in cities. American "family" life had completely changed.

But, my question is this, where was the breakdown of the mindset? Perhaps, I am not explaining myself well.Why is it, the WWII Vets were able to better mentally handle what they had seen and done in War time as opposed to the Vietnam Vets?

Please don't misunderstand me, I am not saying that men who have trouble dealing with what they have seen in a War situation are any less of a man, than someone else. My questioning is merely curiosity as to what changed?

Can we truly chalk it up to the differences in how the different generations were raised?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. What do you think is the reasoning? Why do you think that?