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Contents copyright 2024 by Valerie Harms

Vietnam War films

I was thinking a lot about the Vietnam films and what was happening for me at that time.My husband to be, Larry, graduated from college in 1961, I in 1962. L said that he could either enlist or be drafted. If he enlisted in the Intelligence corps, he might be sent to France. We married later that year at Fort Dix, during his Basic Training. Sturm and drang. We lived in Baltimore while he went to Intelligence School and we did indeed go to France, Verdun.

He did not have to wear a uniform and we rented a “big” house (for that village) in a farm community called Manheulles along the major highway, near the Meuse River.

Daughter Aurelie was born at the Verdun hospital. (No such thing as Pampers in those days. I stored the dirty diapers in a bucket that L would take to Verdun and launder in the machines.)

Larry never said a word about what he did during the day. “Shred documents” was the only thing I remember. I met a few of the men he worked with; we’d get together with wives and children. One broadcast news on the radio; he could speak freely, no secrets.

At the time General DeGaulle was President of France. France had colonized Vietnam but the Vietnamese fought against it, led by Ho Chi Minh, a man of the people who wore sandals and dressed simply, like Gandhi.

France was also fighting the Indo-China War and over territory in Algeria. If I had had a better command of French, I could have understood news broadcasts better and digested the newspapers. The French had a variety expressing different viewpoints, including one of satire called Le Canard Enchaine. I really wished I understood that one.

I presume that Larry’s intelligence work had to do with these activities.

A friend from Berkeley sent an album of Bob Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind” songs but without a phonograph we couldn’t play it until we got back to the U.S. and learned about much more about the anti-war movements.

I very much want to know what veterans or others thought of that time. I'm sure there is a lot still to be expressed.
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