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Back to Civilian Life:
Vietnam Backlash, Back to Work, but
Running with the Wrong Crowd

When Wayne and his friends got out of the army at 21, he was totally lost. The rabid anti-war protesters throwing tomatoes, spitting, calling the servicemen murderous baby killers, along with the Jane Fondas who never experienced the horrors of war were almost too much to bear.

After all, the soldiers were not politicians, but brave young men who didn’t even know why they were fighting or what the war was about, All they knew was that when their country called on them, they responded and fought bravely until they had to leave behind a million Vietnamese to be murdered by the Viet Cong.

Nick Sousa, a friend from childhood, actually fought in the war zone, was wounded, and received a purple heart, which didn’t mean much to those who thought they were just scum to be attacked.

They just drank, trying to figure out what the rich kids and the politicians were thinking.

They realized that war is the last resort, but once you send brave young men to war, they thought they should receive support from those who sent them, who should come together instead of playing games with the lives of our brave young men.

Wayne’s friend Nicky had joined a motorcycle club called the Pagans.

The name sounds daunting, and we all get images of the big, tough, dreadful Hells Angels types of California and movie fame, but this bunch of “dangerous dudes” were mostly Spotsylvania county boys and ex-Vietnam veterans who rode around together on motorcycles, mainly just drinking and partying together, and causing no more problems than any bunch of good old boys that have parties and get too drunk might do.

His equipment wasn’t even very good, as his father Earl, a professional mechanic for the government, characterized Wayne’s motorcycle as being a piece of junk that spent more time in the garage than on the road.

Rejected by the society they had fought and died for, they at least found some people who would accept them for what they were.

 

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