Before this project I knew very little about the Vietnam War. I only knew a few cultural stereotypes and concepts such as the Vietnam War flashback the Vietnam War protester.
In this class I have not only learned about the Vietnam War, but I have also grown an understanding of American culture as well as a multidimensional understanding of a Vietnam veteran.
This project has been an eye-opening experience because of the personal, informational experiences the veterans gave. There is often a disconnect when learning about events such as war through online research or books.
Oral history projects such as these are important because when we understand our past, we can then apply the things we learn and make informed decisions. It is also important to understand societal and cultural context.
Before we started this project, I knew next to nothing about the Vietnam War. I didn't know why we went to war, or even if we won. I now know a lot more about the war and about the people who fought in it.
Meeting the veterans and hearing about their experiences and their thoughts about the war made me think of them as people, not as just soldiers. The Vietnam War and the experiences the veterans had are very interesting to learn and I'm glad to now have a greater understanding.
When this project was first brought up, I was excited about it. Yet as we continued on, I got increasingly more nervous. It sounded like a lot of responsibilities all at once and too many ideas swirling around. We changed our final project idea many times. First a booklet, then a documentary, then a poster or brochure, then finally a website. I just wanted to contribute whatever I could and hoped that something presentable would come out of what we did.
The Vietnam War was one I didn’t know much about - only the main points and battles that took place, along with the anti-war protests. Once we got to the interviews, it was pretty cool just to hear the veterans speak about their experiences. It wasn’t what I expected. Their words contradicted the claims of the media (TV, news, whatnot) that was going around during the time. Pretty much all of them thought the war was meaningless: it was America’s failed attempt at flaunting their weaponry and being both too prideful and too nosy. I thought the same.
What they said about their lives after being in the war was fascinating. I expected them to say they were done with Vietnam once they were out but that wasn’t the case. Some of them went into career fields like politics and foreign affairs.
Overall, I ended off feeling much more positive about the project than when we started. We had the materials and mediums, I’m glad it has come together to be something super cool.
I actually knew a decent amount of information about the Vietnam War before starting the project. It was one of the first wars that the U.S. participated in where they primarily used helicopters. It was also one of the few wars where napalm was used by the Americans.
After the project, I feel as though I know more about the personal effects of the war on soldiers and the anti-war culture. The project didn't change my opinions or really how I felt about the war. We shouldn't have been there in the first place - it was a waste of time and countless American lives.
Before this, I didn't know much about the Vietnam War except that there were major protests over it. It was really interesting to hear the veterans' different sides of the story, and to learn more about what was actually going down through their personal experiences