Anecdotal evidence: My bf’s father served in Vietnam and refuses to talk about it. He hates the idea of being thanked for his service. He made my bf promise to not join the military (which does give my bf some regrets). He was most likely exposed to Agent Orange but won’t seek compensation because he wants nothing to do with any of it. He has spoken to my bf about some of it because they both work on fixing up classic cars, so it’s that garage bonding thing. My bf said he saw some awful shit that he won’t repeat to me even though I’m far from sensitive on those matters (I think because it’s not his story to tell).
More anecdotal stories. My best friends stepfather was in Vietnam and served as a photo-journalist for a lot of the down and dirty shit that was life on the front lines. I knew the man for like 7 years before I learned this, and only because it came up incidentally one day talking to his wife one day. He NEVER mentioned it, he had nothing around the house to represent that period in his life, it was like he was determined to just totally forget everything about it. I hate the idea that photos are only propaganda. Those photos capture the pain, the suffering, the comradeship, the stuff no one talks about, and everything in between. Those photos teach the world how terrible war is. If we do not learn from our history we are doomed to repeat it. I feel like photographs tell the story that maybe others can’t and every story deserves to be told.