Vietnam War: Looking Back

Fifty years after the fact, the Vietnam War remains part of our collective national consciousness. For the veterans who served during this era, this conflict has particular meaning. Each of these veterans experienced the war in a unique, individual way; no two stories are the same. As veteran Tom Hagel has explained, “When we think of wars – whether it’s Vietnam or any other war – we think of it as a unitary subject … but there are millions of Vietnam Wars.” To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Vietnam War, in 2012 the Veterans History Project highlighted a series of collections from this era. They are but a few of the “millions of Vietnam Wars” embodied by the stories of Vietnam veterans. These interviews represent a wide variety of branches, service locations, and military roles; collectively, they illuminate the dramatic—and ongoing—effects of the war on those who participated.