Being a U.S. soldier and fighting for your country overseas is an incredible sacrifice. The extended time away from family, necessity to quickly adapt to new environments, and the witnessing of the tragic repercussions of war are all difficulties that soldiers encounter.
While the government appreciates all of these men and women for their service, it honors a few particularly ambitious ones as “heroes of war” by awarding them medals for their courage on the battlefield.
The Vietnam War pitted U.S. ally South Vietnam against communist North Vietnam, and occurred in the midst of the Cold War, when the world was divided into competing ideological camps. It was an extremely contentious issue in the United States, bitterly dividing the population. Many pegged the war to be “unwinnable,” and did not see value in sending their boys to fight in a faraway land. Furthermore, the photos and videos sent home from reporters in the field exposed Americans to the true horrors of war, especially its devastating effects on the civilian population.