Essay: Bringing the Viet Nam Vets Home

For a long time now, the chief ceremonial function of Memorial Day has been simply to inform Americans that their summer has begun. Of course, residual touches of drum-thumping Americana still cling to the occasion—men in deep middle age parading up and down the holiday, strutting the flag. It is a formal rite of remembering, but remembering at a major distance. In their V.F.W. or American Legion caps the old soldiers have long since made peace with their generation's war. They have worn their memories of combat smooth with the retelling. They...

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