A Peice Of My Heart Essay Research

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A Peice Of My Heart Essay, Research Paper A Piece of My Heart Emily Coley The “other” Vietnam Vets Everybody knows about the men who served in Vietnam. They have at least heard of the mentally trying conditions during the war and the resulting “post traumatic stress syndrome” (PTSD) so many veterans suffered from, or heard of the issues concerning negative public opinion of veterans for their role in a hated war. However, few are aware of the female role in the Vietnam War; women, the “other” veterans, shared in all of these problems and issues along with the gun-toting men. They were the nurses, and in A Piece of My Heart by Keith Walker the stories of many women are presented to better understand just how the Vietnam War affected women. Working in places like

evacuation hospitals exposed women to the endless flow of casualties from the battlefield, and these experiences took major mental tolls upon the minds of the women who had to assist them, especially in their considerations for the value of human life. Women experienced other problems upon returning home such as the same PTSD and outlashes by anti-war protesters. Women were veterans of Vietnam just like the men, and they experienced many of the same problems as a result of their role there. Women were exposed to an enormous amount of pain while in Vietnam. As veteran Rose Sandecki said, “[The Vietnam] War really did a number on all of us, the women as well as the men” (20). Nurses in Vietnam were exposed to a nonstop flow of casualties from the field. The landing of a Chinook

with mass casualties on board had become a standard to Christine Schneider, a nurse in Da Nang. Practically every nurse’s story described the hospital scenes in Vietnam as “busy.” Jill Mishkel explained that she experienced a minimum of at least one death per day. As Ms. Schneider described, “There was just too much death” (46). Ms. Schneider also mentioned, “Everybody was bad” (45); nurses only saw the bad because they were surrounded by it, day in and day out. Charlotte Miller described everything as “on a very negative basis” (324), and that she had to deal with these problems from twelve to fifteen hours per day, twelve to fifteen days in a row, a very rigorous schedule. Further emotional damage was incurred by the severity of the injuries that the nurses

had to deal with. Nurses described situations such as little boys with their intestines hanging out, men with half their faces blown off, men missing their legs from a grenade explosion, paraplegics, quadriplegics, and in one case pulling someone’s shoe off and having the foot come with it. In addition, the soldiers they were treating were only eighteen or nineteen. As Ms. Mishkel said, “They were young, healthy, good-looking men that could’ve been my brothers or my boyfriends or my husband, and they were dying” (124). Women in the Vietnam War had a lot of trying emotional stress that they had to deal with. All of these emotional traumas that women had to experience day after day had a notable impact upon the women’s moral concept of the value of human life. Ms. Miller

mad a very interesting statement, saying, “I am a professional committed to the concept that before anyone can administer to the health needs of an individual, one must recognize the dignity of human life” (322). One could believe that upon first being sent to Vietnam, nurses, being Americans, had a profound respect for the value of human life. Nurses such as Sara McVicker “had a hard time accepting that we couldn’t keep everybody alive and bring everybody back” (144). In the early days of her service, Ms. Mishkel said that she cried often, and that she thought the other nurses were “totally insensitive” (124). However, after day after day of experiences like Ms. McVicker’s, where there just simply weren’t the resources necessary to tend to everybody, where