Whilst not an American myself, and rarely a supporter of their military actions, I have been reading much recently about the plight of Vietnam war veterans in the United States. It should be remembered that the United States government utilised compulsory conscription for this war, and that many of the American troops in Vietnam were not there out of choice. It is also worth noting that the conscription process was often elitist, with those with a college education - in other words those whose parents could afford to send them to college - frequently being given preferential treatment when it came to posting. Between 1964 and 1975, some 2.215m personnel were 'drafted'. Such was the fear of drafting that an estimated 100,000 draft eligible males fled the country, whilst around 500,000 were 'draft offenders' and avoided the draft altogether - approximately 10,000 of these were convicted or imprisoned.
Help Veterans: Vietnam Vets Donation
Want to donate to help Vietnam War Veterans? Check out this article to find out how to donate and why you should donate!
Vietnam Vets Problems
It is easy to consign these happenings as distant history, however Americans throughout the country and still deeply affected by physical and mental health problems as a result of the war. Here are a few facts:
- Over 100,000 Vietnam War Veterans are homeless. Over 300,000 military veterans in total are homeless on any one night.
- More than 67% of homeless veterans served for at least three years.
- 1 in 4 homeless people are military veterans.
- Around 15% of male Vietnam War veterans, and 9% of female Vietnam War veterans, were found to be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during a 1983 study.
- Approximately 30% of male Vietnam Vets and 27% of female Vietnam Vets have suffered from PTSD at some point in the life following the war. Some never recover.
- The proportion of Vietnam Vets suffering from PTSD is higher than any other war on record.
- Around 1.7m Vietnam War veterans in all have experienced clinically serious stress reaction symptoms.
- Almost half of all Vietnam veterans suffering from PTSD had been arrested or in jail at least once since the end of the war. 34.2% have been arrested or in jail more than once.
- Around 40% of Vietnam war veterans have been divorced at least once, whilst 23.1% report significant parenting problems.
- The estimate for current alcohol dependence amongst Vietnam war veterans is 11.2%, whilst the prevalence of lifetime alcohol abuse or dependency is an astonishing 39.2%.
- The estimated prevalence of drug abuse or dependency is 5.7%, whilst around 1.8% are currently believed to be dependant on drugs.
- War Veterans are 2.13 times more likely to kill themselves than ordinary American civilians.
- Disabled veterans, or those who had suffered from trauma, were most likely to kill themselves.
- The suicide rate amongst veterans is continually climbing.
- It is often said that less US military personnel were killed in the war (58000) than had killed themselves in the years that followed. It is in fact believed that 70000, or 23 per day, had killed themselves by May 1982 - just 7 years after the way.
- Some 120 United States veterans commit suicide per day.
- 3.4m US war vets suffer disabilities caused directly by their service.
Great Vietnam Books
|To the Limit: An Air Cav Huey Pilot in Vietnam|
|DAYS OF VALOR: An Inside Account of the Bloodiest Six Mon...|
Vietnam Vets Charity Donations
Many veterans believe that they were considered failures when returning from Vietnam, and the government and wider society did little to help them reintegrate with society. Many of these young men had missed out on the end of the childhoods, being thrust into war at 18 and returning with no real idea about how the world worked. Many, of course, had the support of their families and friends and have gone on to live fulfilling, healthy, and successful lives. Others can safely be referred to as 'forgotten men'. It was Vietnam war veterans who were most vocal in voicing their discontent at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with none of them wishing upon the younger generations the problems bestowed on them. There are many organisations out there who have for decades attempted to do what the various American governments and wider American society have largely failed to do, simply help them overcome their problems. Here are a selection of legitimate registered charities that do what they can within the limits of funding received through donations:
- Vietnam Veterans of America Inc. - VVA is a not-for-profit organisation which was founded in 1978 and is the only congressionally chartered organisation which is exclusively dedicated to Vietnam-era veterans and their families. It has 630 local chapters, 46 state councils, and some 50000 members. Its seeks to provide full access to quality healthcare, and lobbies on all issues affecting veterans. It also works hard to create a more positive public image of Vietnam veterans in America, whilst its founding principle is "Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another." You can donate via their website.
- Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund - The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund was established with the primary purpose of bringing overdue honour and recognition to those who served and lost their lives in Vietnam. Since 1982 more than 80000 items have been left at 'The Wall', a major war memorial erected in the honour of the fallen troops from money raised through this fund. They still require donations from the public for the ongoing upkeep of the wall, which is often used for reconciliations and reunions, whilst the organisation is also hoping to raise funds to build an education centre at the wall. You may donate on their website.