Vilified by some and haunted by demons of their own, the war rarely stopped for those who served in Vietnam when they came home. Dennis Holahan has this perspective, part of our continuing series of Vietnam War commentaries.
When I came home from Vietnam I was done with Vietnam, but Vietnam was not done with me.
I had been an officer on a Navy ship that went up the rivers in I Corps, in charge of 35 men and responsible for keeping the ship moving. We didn't lose any men and the ship was not blown up, like some others.
There was little time to think over there, which made it easier. At some point I realized, as did many, that the war was not going well, and the generals weren't telling Washington the truth.
Coming home was harder than being over there. While attending an anti-war rally in San Francisco, others found out I had been in the Navy in Vietnam. They spat in my face and called me a war criminal. So I stopped talking about Vietnam to anyone, but that doesn't work. Although functioning on the outside, I slipped into alcoholism and drug addiction, with severe anger management issues.