The Vietnam War was not the first war to ever have people protest against it. However, the Vietnam War was by far the most unpopular war in American history. Certain people felt that the United States was immorally engaged in imperialism. Some people continued to have faith in the United States government, but still thought a terrible mistake was being made.
Certain people only marched in the antiwar protests because they were in fear of their loved ones being dragged off to war. During the Vietnam war 53 million American’s came of age to be drafted into the war. Half of these people were women, who were immune to the draft. Only 6,000 women went into the military, none saw combat. From 1964 to 1973 over fifty-one thousand American’s lost their lives.
As young teens were growing up during the war, they knew there was a chance they would be drafted into the war. Some young teens looked forward to enlisting in the military, they knew it was the manly thing to do. Other young teens tried to avoid the draft in all ways possible. This generation however, fighting for one’s country was not seen as a source of pride, it was seen as misfortune.
Avoiding the draft did not mean a person’s life went unharmed. Many young men engaged in hurried marriages, unwanted children, misdirected careers, or physical harm to impair themselves. The draftees who fought and died in Vietnam were primarily society’s “losers”. These were the same men who were left behind in school, jobs, and other forms of social competition. The discriminatory, social, economic, and racial impact of Vietnam cannot be fairly measured against other wars in American history, but American people were never before as conscious of how evenly the obligation to serve was distributed.
It is clear to me now why many of these people protested the Vietnam War. I probably would have been out there too if it was my husband, son, or father who was forced to do these things.
“Light at the End of the Tunnel” by Andrew J. Rotter