Bill Palmer w_a_palmer at BELLSOUTH.NET
Sat May 22 18:09:43 UTC 2010

OK, pure conjecture here, but I'm wondering if the "poisonous atmosphere"
was more or less confined to university campuses, and the more widespread
incidence of it maybe more urban legend than anything.  Hazarding a guess
here, but I'm thinking many/most of the contributors to this list have spent
a good deal of their lives on campus and might have been students or young
faculty at the time

I say this based purely on personal experience and conversations with
colleagues.  I served in Viet Nam from 1966-67, and again 1968-69, and never
experienced any kind of harassment, vilification, poisoned atmosphere, or
anything close to it in any domestic setting, either on the way out, or on
returning.  I served in the Regular Navy during the entire Vietnam era, and
even when not serving in or in transit to/from VN did I encounter anything
like that directed at me, as someone in uniform (although I read about it
all the time). During the 8 or so years of the Vietnam Era, no one I served
with ever mentioned to me having had such an experience.  I was stationed in
San Diego, Pearl Harbor, Newport RI, Norfolk, and Key West during that time
.  There was a justifiable element of unhappiness with the war within these
communities, but in actual fact, the major poisonous atmosphere extant at
that time was the state of race relations in the Navy, and other services,

There is a great deal of manufactured self-pity which has been emanating
from some disaffected Vietnam vets for 40 years or so, a lot of "poor me,
nobody ever said 'welcome home'".  They need to get over it. And no one is
well served by politicians who ride that horse.

 Bill P

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark Mandel" <thnidu at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Saturday, May 22, 2010 10:58 AM
Subject: Re: Vietnam

> ---------------------- Information from the mail
> header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Mark Mandel <thnidu at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Vietnam
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Now that you point that out, yes, I do remember that part of the
> atmosphere
> of the times. So I agree that Blumenthal may not have intended to imply
> here
> that he had served in the Nam.
> m a m
> On Fri, May 21, 2010 at 11:40 PM, <ronbutters at> wrote:
>> Actually, in that poisonous atmosphere, anyone wearing a uniform was
>> subject to the sort of abuse that Blumenthal described. A Marine would
>> have
>> been particularly vilified, and a Marine who had not actually served in
>> Vietnam would surely have felt solidarity with those who did: "we
>> Marines"
>> in other words.
>> Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Mark Mandel <thnidu at GMAIL.COM>
>> Date:         Fri, 21 May 2010 22:49:48
>> Subject:      Re: [ADS-L] Vietnam
>> You may not wish to reply, Victor. But as one who has not previously
>> spoken
>> in this (I agree, over-politicized) thread, I will throw in my two cents
>> to
>> disagree in part with you here.
>> "When we returned from Vietnam, I remember the taunts, the verbal and
>> even
>> > physical abuse we encountered."
>> >
>> There are two "we"s here. The first, in "When we returned from Vietnam",
>> I
>> agree can be read collectively, referring figuratively to "America" or
>> literally to "America's troops".
>> But next comes "I remember the taunts, the verbal and even physical abuse
>> we
>> encountered". To this reader, the cooccurrence of "I" and "we" in this
>> clause practically forces a personal, literal interpretation of that
>> "we".
>> If "I remember" what "we encountered", then that individual "I" who
>> remembers was a member of that "we" who encountered abuse, the set of
>> returned veterans receiving tribute. And he wasn't, and he knew it.
>> Mark A. Mandel
>> On Fri, May 21, 2010 at 4:11 PM, Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at
>> >wrote:
>> >
>> >
>> > > During a May 18, 2009, military board tribute to veterans in Shelton,
>> > > Blumenthal was quoted by the Connecticut Post []
>> > > as saying, "When we returned from Vietnam, I remember the taunts, the
>> > > verbal and even physical abuse we encountered."
>> >
>> > Sure, YMMV. But what I see here is a "we" that represents the country,
>> > not "we" including the individual "I". I suppose, a more technically
>> > accurate statement would have been "When our troops returned from
>> > Vietnam", but it would not change the meaning of the statement one bit.
>> > NYT quotes a similar line from the Milford Mirror, another local paper.
>> >
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