VOICES OF A WOUNDED GENERATION
(Ed. Note: The story we reference was published May 25, 1980 in the Washington Post)
The Washington Post was my daily newspaper for most of the decade from 1975-1985. It was actually a significant source of news from the time I was a kid. As my father was stationed twice in DC at The Pentagon- with the US Navy - and my parents kept the house, renting it when we moved from place to place and coming back to it the year I graduated from high school- it was The Post that hit our doorstep every morning.
One of those mornings was a Sunday in 1980. Now, anyone will tell you that, like the NY Times, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, the SF Examiner and the LA Times, the Sunday Post probably weighed close to 6 pounds. This was a newspaper that took a week to read. At least in my case it did.
In The OUTLOOK section, where one would find commentary and editorials-was a piece entitled After Vietnam: Voices of A Wounded Generation. And on the cover above the fold, a huge picture of six guys (obviously military) from the rear, walking away arm in arm. One has a crutch. Five of the six have long hair so I figured they were vets.
The fellows who took part in this discussion* are mostly known to us. It was one of my first experiences of the subject of the Vietnam War being so personalized. There were books I had read, including Philip Caputo's A Rumor of War, but nothing really struck me like this article.
To all of the guys who served, Welcome Home. To those who did not but took part in this conversation, thank you. And to all the others- we hope you gain as much insight from this as we did.
-Philip Caputo ~ a Marine platoon leader in VN and author of "A Rumor of War"
-James Fallows ~ a writer who opposed the war and did not serve
-Robert Muller ~ a Marine officer who came home a paraplegic. He became spokesman for Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and is now chairman of Vietnam Veterans in America
-Dean K. Phillips ~ a paratrooper in Vietnam who is now an attorney at the Veterans Administration
-Lucian K. Truscott IV ~ a West Point graduate who opposed the war and was allowed to resign his commission. He is the author of "Dress Gray"
-James Webb ~ a Marine officer who won the Navy Cross and the Silver Star in VN, wrote the novel "Fields of Fire" and is now minority counsel for the House Veterans Affairs Committee
-John P. Wheeler III ~ a West Point graduate who served in VN and is now a Washington attorney. He organized this discussion for The Post.
For thirty years I have carried this article around with me. The picture got my attention, the title hooked me and, upon reading the piece, I was awakened totally to the division, the gigantic, gaping wound endured by my generation specifically by the Vietnam War.
This is the link to the archive page of The Washington Post:
Follow these instructions and you will have access to the actual article to read. You can purchase the article as well. I bought it for $4. But you don't have to pay to read it!
-Go to the right column that says 1877-1986 Historical
-Leave everything the way it is set up by default
-Go to "date range" and key in May 25, 1980 to May 25, 1980
-In "headline" spot key in: Voices of a Wounded Generation
-Click on "search article only"
-The article should pop up and you can save it as it is a PDF file to your pc. There are publishing and Use restrictions.
(*Ed Note: It has been 33 years since this article was published. We hope to report the status of these men soon- today is 7 August 2013.)
UPDATE: NOVEMBER 2014
Follow up on John P. Wheeler III (we do not purport to accept or deny the information offered in this video): The Mysterious Death of John P. Wheeler III