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The powerful emotions triggered through watching this film can be acknowledged without question. What I found the most interesting was the use of real news footage from that time period that aired on major news networks, swaying people’s opinions about our justification for being in Vietnam. Being able to view that gave me a 1st hand look into soldiers’ opinions of the war as well as protests and how they differed then. The actors reading the leaders with pure emotion and feeling in order to accurately portray how much these soldiers put into these letters was remarkable because I felt as though I was experiencing that time period as if it were real and the soldiers were scrambling to write as I watched on.
The stories they depicted throughout their words definitely provided for a flurry of reactions. I wanted to be happy for those men honored for combat, living through the horrors of hell, and seeing the relief on their faces when being honorably discharged and sent home. I was equally and oppositely somber, however, for those men’s lives stolen in combat, for those permanently crippled and bitter, to hear of the unspeakable horrors awaiting prisoners of war, as well as letters from optimistic soldiers killed in action shortly after.
Another thing I found effectively executed by this film was the specific numbers given. They showed the variation in the number of soldiers deployed to Vietnam over the course of the war, as well as the rising KIA numbers and wounded in combat. A gruesome part of this war as well was the thick jungle that the soldiers had to navigate through blindly until ambushed by the Vietcong, and I thought the film did an excellent job of revealing that to the public. One of the most powerful moments of the film was when a soldier, grieving over his superior officer exclaimed that “he’ll be given a silver star, and somehow that is supposed to suffice for his life being taken.”