The Graying of Trauma: Revisiting Vietnam's POWs

September 19, 2014 3:10 PM

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The Vietnam War was still raw in the collective American memory when the award-winning 1978 film The Deer Hunter brought home the horror of the POW experience. The film tells the story of three young men from Pennsylvania--Mike, Nick and Steven--who ship off as patriotic and gung-ho soldiers. They are captured during a firefight and endure physical deprivation and chilling psychological torture at the hands of the enemy. With the war's end, they try to pick up the pieces of their lives, but all three are psychologically damaged.

This is not surprising, given the ordeal they survived--the brutality, the threats, the intimidation and uncertainty. Nick never makes it home, and we are left wondering about the prognosis of the other two--and the real-life Vietnam vets they represent. These former POWs are mostly in their 60s tod...

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