If Not Closure...Peace?

Courtesy Left - pritzkermilitary.org, Right - SOFREP.com

                             The Ken Burns series, The Vietnam War, is really beyond words.

The single take-a-way from this massive documentary is that as in all life, if you are honest with yourself and with others, in war there is no Black vs. White. 
There is no all Good vs. all Evil. 
There is only a stretcher-load full of damaged grey.

If you take a veteran from each war and plunk them all down in the same room; the expressions, the emotional wounds, the anger, disgust, outrage, the camaraderie, the memories horrific and happy, they are all there and they are all the same. But if you take those same war vets whose country is against that war, another layer of wounds are laid into those men, and society suffers unending hits from the loss of their sons for an errant cause.

And while time heals wounds, seen and not, time can't heal all.

Ken Burns series comes damn close to achieving real peace within those of us who lived through that time, even if closure is forever a MIA.

I was shocked. I was angered. I had disgust.
I cried.
I laughed.
I smiled
And I cried again.

So many...so many bright, handsome, lively young men violently killed on the cusp of living their lives...on all sides.

U.S. Army, ARVN, Viet Cong, U.S. & Vietnamese civilians.

Kent State
Saigon, and on and on...

War is not an enclosed activity despite what the leadership and generals may say. Its actions carry ripples and all feel the strain. Guilt can be more deadly than a bullet.

Mr. Burns could have picked out any Vietnam soldier's story to document for this film, and the sorrows, the regret, the rage and confusion, it all would have been the same. A just cause leaves damage. An unjust cause unending damages.

Maybe Ken Burns planned this documentary to be more for civilian than combatant healing. Maybe through those turbulent times, we who were too young or too old to fight but were forced to watch the fighting had to quick swallow the medicine of Vietnam and forget the warring world was ever that sick. Maybe Ken forcing us to realize that hearts and minds were broken on both sides eliminates some of the ill-placed hatred for the "enemy", and allows a kind of peace without closure.

I'm not sure why Mr. chose now to cover this time in history but I think he had an intention. Maybe to quietly say to all of us that in all conflict there are two sides, that with all shots fired there is lasting damage, and that jumping into war to merely prove a country's power should be history in and of itself.

But as Islamic extremists hijack trucks and mow down civilians world wide, as the Sharia Law converted grab guns and fire into innocent crowds, as backpacks full of explosives carried by ISIS patriots tear limbs and lives, peace, never mind closure, is now more than ever not at hand.

The Vietnam War series may have closed the door on our past but what of our present? A new "enemy", a new ideology, a new era of little peace and more universal hurt. The grey swamps us now as PT boats swamped the Gulf of Tonkin.

Thank you, Mr. Burns, for trying to remind us about our past as our present rages on. 
Peace and closure? 
Give it another 40 years....