The Vietnam War was probably the first time Americans sitting at home got an inkling of what armed conflict is like, without the silver-screened images of propaganda that gleamed across the matinees from previous wars.
War memorabilia tells a certain story as well, but it’s much more abstract than we’d like, and it’s sometimes hard to emotionally tie a soldier’s badge or rifle to the horrific trauma that went along with it.
The cynicism that arises from that trauma is dark and perfect, and puts to rest any romantic notions that some would like to attribute to fighting on the front lines in France, or against an invisible enemy in the jungle, or an Islamic insurgency on the streets of Baghdad. The inscriptions on the lighters from Vietnam soldiers below demonstrate that perfectly – and anyone who disagrees can f-ck off. via