What's Your Script?

How we revise our narratives.

Are They Veterans?

Understanding what they experienced.

Most people would agree that within any family there are both physical and psychological differences among members. Children may ask such questions as ‘if you are my sister why do you look so different?’ Or ‘why am I the shortest one in the family?’ In the 1952 movie White Christmas, there is a song that provides a glimpse into the difference of sisters. In the song ‘Sisters, Sisters,’ listeners recognize their own idiosyncrasies in the lyrics. For example, “she wears the dress and I stay home.” This diversity can be seen across many groups beyond siblings as well. It can be transferred into groups of people who share a unique bond and have a feeling like a “family.”

Looking at the generic pool of women who were involved in Vietnam War shows a similar diversity. Due to the wide range of situations and jobs faced by the women such as nurses, American Red Cross, Special Services, USO, Armed Forces Radio or even government secretaries and embassy staff, and so on, there needs to be clarification for a deeper understanding of the cultural norms that these women faced. This spring the American Red Cross ladies will gather in Springfield, Massachusetts and this Veterans Day many of the “women who served” will gather in Washington, D.C. Diverse as they all may be they are still sisters to one another and share a common bond that is communicated through a look, a word, and a deep understanding of what they all experienced. In the eyes of those who served they are all veterans of the conflict called Vietnam but in the eyes of those who do not understand the connections are they veterans?

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Jeanne Christie, Ed.D., Ph.D., is an adjunct professor in communications at Western CT State University and at Manhattanville College.

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