Most people of a certain age have clear memories of the war in Vietnam. This week on Senior Voices, we hear from Brenda Stone. Born in 1939 and raised in Jefferson Township, she worked at the Delco Products plant in Kettering for twenty years. Brenda shared her thoughts on the war and its impact with Dayton Metro Library volunteer interviewer, Hadley Drodge.
Brenda Stone: I feel sorry for those boys that came back from ‘Nam, I worked with a lot of them in the factory and they they didn’t say much about it; really, they wouldn’t really talk about it. But it was hard on them when they came home somehow you knew maybe you asked them I’m not sure or they might have told ya and I know one of my friend’s brothers had gotten killed there, my cousin was in ‘Nam. You know it just seemed like you knew so many of them around your age that went to Vietnam.
You know we lost 57,000 men and it was pretty sad. You just would hear the count everyday of how many Americans were lost and then they would have to put a figure out there for how many Vietcong were lost. It’s sad on both sides you know, everybody just wants to live and being a mother you thought oh gosh how could you stand it when your boys would be over there knowing they’re in a jungle and there’s snipers in the trees.
I know I was out at the V.A. one day and my son in law had to go to Iraq, I think that’s when he had to go to Iraq, yeah my daughter had her husband and her son both over in the Mid East at the same time but something was said about the desert war and he said “Oh that wasn’t a war that was nothing” he said “We were in the jungle with snipers” and I thought to myself “I can’t imagine it I just can’t imagine.” My son in law and grandson both got back unscathed and I was happy about that and worried about my grandson being sent.
He and a bunch of his buddies signed up right when they graduated in 2000 from Miamisburg and a bunch of them signed up for the army to get college paid for and whatever and that’s right when, you know 9/11, right after that hit the fan so things got pretty hectic after that.
You just worried. You knew they were gonna go. We had to. Had to do something so that’s basically what I remember him and his buddies going off to war and his one good buddy went into the medics and he was telling about one time on his first day on the job one of the new recruits got his head blown apart and he’s trying to hold it together and I thought “Oh my god these are just 18 and 19 year old boys” you know, how?
As far as any war goes I don’t know why. You know, you wouldn’t want to send your baby to war. And I was lucky not to have any of my kids but I got great grandsons coming up now and I know they’re gonna wanna be in the service ‘cause their dad was.
This interview was edited by Community Voices producer Zeb Reichert. Senior Voices is a collaboration between the Dayton Metro Library, Rebuilding Together Dayton, and WYSO. This series is made possible through the generous support of the Del Mar Healthcare Fund of the Dayton Foundation.