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GRAND PRIZE WINNER
My Brother's War
In 1967 my brother, Gary, was drafted into the US Army during the American war in Vietnam. Because our parents were ill and Gary was our caretaker, I was sent to live with relatives. On November 4th, my brother arrived in Qui Nhon, Vietnam. I rarely saw him again until I was grown.
Gary wrote many letters home while he was stationed in Vietnam. Pictures arrived. Although in his letters he spoke of his living quarters and described the helicopters he flew into the front lines, he rarely discussed the dangers. Discharged from the army in December of 1969 with a "service connected nervous disorder", we later came to know his problem as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My pre-war brother, a normal and well-adjusted person became, according to the US Veterans' Administration, 50% disabled. He took his own life ten years later.
Twenty-five years after his death, I discovered among his belongings, a memo pad that revealed the names and addresses of his wartime friends, some of whom, with diligence, I managed to contact – 35 years after the war.
Through the remembrances of his wartime friends and through my own journeys to Vietnam in 2007 and 2008, I retraced Gary's "footsteps" using his letters and photographs as guides. I continue to make discoveries about wartime in Vietnam as experienced by its veterans. The visual record of those experiences continues to unfold.
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