Special Problems of Former soldiers
As Veterans Day1 approaches, one group of American veterans stands out from all the others—the two million men who served in Indochina during the “Vietnam era.”2 Unlike those who served in America's other wars, the Vietnam veterans received no heroes' welcomes when they returned home. On the contrary, many Americans viewed those who fought in Vietnam with fear and suspicion. Many Vietnam veterans came home to other problems as well: drug addiction; widespread unemployment, especially among young black veterans;3 neglect and sometimes incompetent treatment from government agencies whose job it was to help them.
Vietnam veterans have “never been recognized for their service to the country,” President Carter said last year.4 “They [have] often been despised, characterized as criminals…. They were ...