My War – Elizabeth A. Allen

Nervous yet faithful, strong yet inexperienced, Elizabeth A. Allen followed the path of her family members and joined the Vietnam War. Both a woman and African American, Allen had a much lower status compared to many other nurses working along side of her. When Allen saw the rows of young men sitting under the scorching sun, waiting to fill the place of a dead man and only to die themselves, she began to question the purpose of the war. Bodies poured into the hospital in waves and the caretakers struggled to take care of them with limited supplies and personnels. After all that struggle and sacrifice, Allen, along with many other American veterans, only received hostility from their own nation in return. She fought both a war against the communist forces as well as her own identity.

Allen had escaped death numerous times and was forced to watched the cruel acts of death destroying others in a war that, from the description of her recounts and The Things They Carried, seemed utterly pointless. Weighted down by the things they carried, the soldiers in the war “humped” the mountains and fields and forests and rice paddies mechanically. Their minds, along with Allen’s mind, were unconsciously numbed by the shelling and shooting and screaming in an attempt to salvage their sanity from the grip of war. Of course they were tough people, but what was their toughness for?


2 thoughts on “My War – Elizabeth A. Allen

  1. I know that there are many people who were brave and courageous during the Vietnam War, and this is yet another example of an amazing act of heroism. I enjoyed reading this blog post about Elizabeth Allen’s story during and after the war. As I dislike trauma and gruesome wounds, I admire people who can take care of others with such extreme injuries. War wounds must be even more gory, and I can’t even imagine being a war nurse or medic–not only do they have to take care of wounded soldiers, they must also worry about their own safety. I didn’t realize that even the medics and nurses who served during the Vietnam War received hostility when they returned back home. The public’s disapproving and hostile reaction to the returning soldiers, nurses, medics, and others who served in the Vietnam War is saddening for these veterans put their lives in danger and demonstrated exceptional courage to fight in the war.


  2. Pingback: Comments | thejumbledjournal

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