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Remembering Vietnam

Uploaded by geddawg on Nov 12, 2002

“Facing It,” by Yusef Komunyakaa talks about a war which most, if not all Americans are familiar with. The ever so controversial Vietnam Conflict, also known as the Vietnam War. This poem was very well written, and I respect all that was said in the context of the poem. “Facing It,” discusses his visit to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C., and his emotions that he experienced while he was at the memorial. I can not imagine what the feelings would be like to see one of my friend’s name etched in this wall, although Tomas Van Putten can. I had a personal phone interview with him on October 30th, 2002.

Tom Van Putten served nine years in the U.S. Army, two of which were spent in Vietnam. In a phone interview with Tom, I asked him if he had ever visited the monument. In fact, he did and he discussed with me how hard it was to see a dozen names of men he knew that were put on that wall. “It’s really an awesome monument; it is hard remembering what it was like coming home. I was definitely changed for life ” (Van Putten).

Most of the content Mr. Van Putten and I spoke about, alluded back to “Facing It.”

Komunyakaa really shows me that he is emotional about the monument by his visions that he sees when he is at the wall. “My black face fades / hiding inside the black granite” (1-2). Here I believe he is realizing he should be on that wall. I feel as if he may be remembering a point in time in Vietnam that he was involved in an incident that should have cost him his life. Also, these are all names. His fading face makes me think that he realizes that there were no separate races in that war. When I told Mr. Van Putten about this part of the poem, he said “Yea, you are right. We all looked the same. We were all Americans.”

“I said I wouldn’t, dammit: no tears” (3-4). How could you not cry at this scene. Hundreds, if not thousands of fellow Americans that Komunkyaa had interacted with at one point in time, or another, were just names etched on a wall. I asked Mr. Van Putten what the overall environment was like once he arrived in Vietnam. Mr. Van Putten described the environment of Vietnam...

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Uploaded by:   geddawg

Date:   11/12/2002

Category:   Vietnam War

Length:   4 pages (901 words)

Views:   1855

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