The Lifesavers of the War: AP IV Blog Prompt

Visit the website called Vietnam First-Person. There you will find a list of interviews and narratives in which people who experienced the Vietnam War tell their stories. Realize that there’s an arrow at the bottom of the list that will lead you to a second and a third page. Please don’t restrict your reading to Page 1.

Read several of these first-person accounts. When you find one that really interests you, write about it on your blog. Summarize it briefly, but spend most of your time on reaction. What did you learn from this piece? How do you feel about it? Give an honest, intelligent reaction.

My War: Elizabeth A. Allen

In this narrative, Elizabeth A. Allen recounts her experience as a nurse during the Vietnam War. She begins with an anecdotal flash back to a dire situation where she had to rely on her nursing skills when multiple soldiers were hurt. During this difficult time, since she was a woman, she was not allowed to have a gun yet she was still able to save many other people’s lives. Later, she describes her journey in becoming a nurse that served during the Vietnam War. In the end, Allen makes a statement about being a female black war participant.

She’s obviously a person that people should show utmost respect for; however, she was also relatable for me as her ultimate career choice was not the same as her initial dream. Nursing had not been part of her goals, but eventually, she ended up enlisting. This was commendable considering she would now be working in a highly dangerous job that she previously hadn’t even thought about. Furthermore, few people would actively choose this job despite not getting their first choice.

Allen also had many difficulties in this field since as soon as she joined the army, she felt isolated. There were also many cases that Allen felt extremely unsure of what to do. In one of the cases, she wasn’t allowed a light as she attempted to save a young man who could not breathe. Nervously, Allen continuously resuscitated the man on a helicopter until they landed. After she described this incident in her narrative, I personally felt that she had not been appreciated enough for her work.

In the end, I don’t think Allen had felt respect for all she had done. After her return home from the war, I believe she continued to feel alone and unwelcome, ignored and unaccepted, discriminated against and isolated. She not only deserves respect, but also recognition as a black female war participant. Along with acknowledging Allen’s work, we can also begin to appreciate all that nurses have contributed.


2 thoughts on “The Lifesavers of the War: AP IV Blog Prompt

  1. needknottoknow says:

    I believe that too often, we tend to restrict ourselves to a single image of the war — be it the horrors of death, or the deeds of the soldiers that fought in it. The situation is most definitely always more complex; there are stories behind the soldiers, and there are people participating in the war — the hidden heroes, if you will — whose stories just aren’t out in the open. Especially the nurses who worked so tirelessly to give life among death.

    Thanks for pointing that out!


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