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Thread: "We Were Soldiers"
01-05-03, 10:41 PM #1
"We Were Soldiers"
Excerpts from "Call It a Start" by Susan Katz Keating.
First must explain why I'm doing it this way.
I was not able to locate this article on the web.
Just mention of it on the American Legion site.
This is from the June issue of American Legion magazine.
I won't copy the whole article just a few things.
"We Were Soldiers" is a socially valuable work of art.
It represents a significant turning point in American culture.
The mistreatment of the Vietnam serviceman is an oft-told story.
First, the soldiers were dispatched in all their patriotic innocence to fight a war so grossly mismanaged.
It's a wonder all of them didn't wind up with their names etched alongside the 58,000 plus already on the Wall.
Second, the men returned home to an ungrateful nation.
Civilians openly jeered at soldiers.
The intelligentsia mocked them for not being smart enough to evade the draft.
Members of the so-called "peace" movement physically assaulted them.
Most appalling, though, is the rarely recognized fact that for the past 30 years, Vietnam veterans have endured the outrage of being miscast as society's damaged goods.
Despite the fact that Vietnam veterans are fully integrated, high-functioning members of modern society.
They are the subject urban mythsdepicting them as mentally or emotionally disabled, or even as walking time bombs waiting to unleash their pent up sickness on America.
The myths have been perpetuated by Hollywood.
She then goes on to site "Apocalypse Now", "First Blood", "BillY Jack","Coming Home".
Then she mentions "Gardens of Stones" that tried to show the military in a strightforward light.
It wasn't a big hit at the box office.
She then turns her attention to Oliver Stone's movie "Platoon"
One reaction from a Vietnam veteran;
"We were nothing like that"
Combat veteran Robert Hemphill says.
"Our men were nothing like that, and those things did not happen the way Stone says they did."
Hemphill is in a unique position to comment on "Platoon."
He was Oliver Stone's company commander in Vietnam.
He was particulary outraged to see that Stone indentified their old Bravo Company, a unit from the 25th Infantry Division, as the platoon in the movie.
The film commander who called in an airstrike on his own men, then, would have been Hemphill.
Who says he did no such thing, he was appalled.
The first thing I did was call Stone, Hemphill say.
"I asked, Where the hell did you get that stuff you put in the movie?"
I told him.
"It's not fair to our guys to misrepresent them in this way."
Hemphill says Stone pleaded dramatic license.
These were some on my thoughts on seeing "Platoon", Stone took too much dramatic license in the making of "Platoon".
He show too much of worst of human behavior without any counter-view.
Bavery, Courage, Honor and Comittment come to mind.
She then talks about Hollywood's depiction of Vietnam veterans seeking redemption only by renouning his or her part in the Vietnam War.
"Veterans have been deeply hurt by this one-sided presention."
She then mentions that she was invited to Washington, D.C screening of "We Were Soldiers". I accepted eagerly but with a measure of apprehension.
"Would the excellent story be mauled, I wondered by Hollywood?"
And how would the audience- largely Vietnam veterans and their families react?
My first question, thankfully was in the negative.
My second query was resolved the minute the movie ended.
Normally an audience starts to filter out when the story portion ends.
Here, though, the entired company-sized audience remained seated in their seats in attentive silence until the last closing credit vanished from the screen.
Having seen that movie in DVD, I too reacted in a similar manner.
Parts I thought someone had taken dramatic license.
But all in all it's one of the best movies of what the Vietnam War really was all about.
One part that was deleted, was when Lt. Col Herman Moore was debriefed by Bob McNamara and Westmoreland.
On being told that "We're going to drive them back home".
"Sir, They are back home!"
Fighting on much of the same ground where they ambushed the French some 20 plus years in 1965.
01-05-03, 11:06 PM #2
I forgot to mention another deleted part of the movie "We Were Soldiers".
This had to do about inspection by a young officer of his platoon.
They were in their "alpha's" all but this one Sergeant had their ribbons and badges.
On seeing this Sergeant without those.
He ordered that Sergeant to go back into the barracks on put those on your chest.
The next scene was a Segeant bare-ass naked with his ribbons and badges on his chest.
Also around his neck was the Medal of Honor.
I about died when I saw that.
PS sorry about the bad grammar in my first part of this article.
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