The women in Jack's life personified that war.. Skyi - a chopper ride into a hot LZ; Roma - raped by those sworn to protect; Vicki - a cleverly concealed punji pit; Audrey - the calm after battle..
What could be greater than returning home to family and friends after surviving all the dodging bombs and bullets of close combat for a year? Once Jack had discarded his jungle boots, fatigues, M-16 and utility belt of hand grenades, upon discharging from his unit in the Mekong Delta, he anticipated his return home as nothing less than an ascension to a wonderland where the taps flowed with cold beer, t-bone steak came with breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the streets were line with sumptuous round-eyed girls. Now, two years into his return home in Northern California, he wanted his soldiers gear back. How could life in paradise have gone so wrong - a failed marriage after only a year, no possibility of a simple damned job (who wanted to hire a pot smoking, attitude dancing Nam vet anyway?), and what had happened to his relationships with family members and old friends? And then there were the frequent war nightmares and flashbacks - and the painful war wounds that persisted. At least with boots on the ground, no matter how shaky, and M-16 locked and loaded, and buddies who would give their own life for yours ever at your side, things were so simple. And you knew who the enemy were, and all you had to do was shoot them and move on.
Post Script: The number of names on the black granite wall in DC fifty-eight thousand, two-hundred and seventy-two. The number of suicides of Vietnam veterans to date is estimated at two-hundred thousand.
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They "came home from the war in Vietnam," but did not come back.