American History Since 1865
November 20, 2010
A friend and I went to a concert on November 12th and afterwards I couldn’t help but ask if I could ask him about what event during his lifetime affected him most. I knew what the topic would be, even before I asked. Jim is almost 60 and we met in recovery. I have heard a lot of his story, however watching him tear up several times during the concert I hoped he would let me interview him. The performer we saw was John Prine; one thing that is no secret, though he served in it, John Prine was no supporter of the Vietnam War. One of Mr. Prine’s most famous songs was “Sam Stone,” about a soldier that came home with a heroin addiction and loses everyone and everything upon his return. The main lyric is “there’s a hole in daddy’s arm where all the money goes,” (Prine.), and I could tell that this song had a lot of meaning for Jim.
Jim was met at the airport by brother, and he remembers being silent after he made a comment. “He joked that I was now home and no longer "surrounded by the Viet Cong and all that stuff.’" It was said jokingly, but it sounded like he didn’t believe that the war in Vietnam was a real war, a war where I always felt surrounded by danger.”
Jim’s tour in Vietnam came later than most. He was there during 1972, after most ground troops were withdrawn, and politicians were promising "peace with honor.” 1972 was the Easter Offensive, and that was just as devastating as Tet 1968. But mostly it was the Vietnamese troops who died in that offensive, and it got only a tiny amount of American press compared to1968 "(Keene, Cornell, and O’Donnell). But to John, it had been one long hellish experience, and he wondered if everybody had been asleep.
Jim is a very good friend of mine who agreed to be interviewed. Jim has been in recovery for over 25 years and it wasn’t until he got clean and...