The First War That Never Needed to be Re-Enacted

Firstly, why would the City of Waupaca take the time and taxpayer’s money to change TWO ordinances for a one-time, two-day “event”?  Doesn’t the city government have more important issues to deal with?

But, more importantly, why does anyone think that the Vietnam War needs to be re-enacted?  

It was the first war that was shown on television, and it was shown nightly. There are literally millions of hours of video you can watch, if you want to “see” what a modern war was like. I’m not talking about “Forrest Gump” – but real footage of the real war, taken by combat photographers and civilian news correspondents. Search for “Vietnam War footage” on Youtube, and it returns 902,000 results!

I should add at this point that the so-called re-enactment is a joke. A bunch of Army wannabes running up and down a hill in costumes, yelling and shooting blanks – is simply an adult version of third-grade boys “playing army”.

Picking up shell casings as souvenirs? Sick and twisted.

This group claims there will be 50-70 re-enactors taking part in the re-enactment of the battle of “Hambuger Hill”. A total of 72 American soldiers were KILLED and 372 wounded during this battle. At the end of this re-enactment, will all of the participants be “dead”?  Accuracy would demand them to be.

Calling it “educational” is simply a way of convincing the city council that there is at least some value in this utter waste of time and money. I think it’s an insult to local teachers to pretend that something is actually being taught about war. War is bloody and inhumane and should be avoided at all costs – none of those lessons will be “taught” through a so-called re-enactment.

Eric Percy claims that “97% of the veterans who have served in Vietnam” and he as met – have thanked him for doing re-enactments. I notice that he didn’t say “combat veterans”, because I highly doubt that Vietnam veterans who actually experienced combat – are at all interested in seeing combat re-enactments and would certainly not support them.

Why didn’t Eric Percy simply join the Army- where he could get all of the “thrills” of combat in real life? We have been at war for all of his adult life.

If the city council wants to honor Vietnam War veterans and their service, then sponsor a film and/or lecture series. Have some real Vietnam War veterans represent themselves and their own stories.  You have two on the council, for god’s sake.

I congratulate Alderman Alan Kjelland for his eloquent and measured response to the proposal. I don’t think I could have been as diplomatic.  I think he aptly represented most Vietnam (combat) veterans’ views on these adult men who “play Army” at the expense of reliving an entire generation’s nightmare.

I would not vote for supporting a bunch of wannabe-soldiers to have use of city property to play out their boyhood “army” dreams. They could rent any number of private hills and hold re-enactments daily. Why do they need an audience?

At the very least, I would put this condition on the event: Percy must obtain the signatures of 10 Vietnam veterans who were awarded a Combat Infantryman’s Badge and support his re-enactment.

In the mean time, the city should check its liability insurance – in case one of these yahoos shows up with live rounds. Percy says he will conduct a “safety check” – and his qualifications are what?

“I find war detestable, but those who praise it – without participating in it – even more so.”     – Romain Rolland