The Lasting Wounds of War — Vietnam


The Lasting Wounds of War — Vietnam



In the years following the end of the Vietnam War, veterans were shunned by segments of American society that actively demonstrated against the unpopular war. Many vets suffered from recurrent nightmares and from the effects of Agent Orange exposure. The highly toxic chemical was used by the U.S. government to defoliate the jungle and expose enemy positions. In addition, families whose loved ones were missing in action were kept in limbo by the Vietnamese government.

These were some of the stories brought to public light by WIVB’s Rich Newberg in his series of reports dealing with the lasting wounds of war.

Delayed Stress Syndrome
A condition called delayed stress syndrome surfaces as Vietnam War veterans suffer the psychiatric after effects of combat. Five years after the war ended on April 30, 1975, sudden noises can trigger fearful reactions. Some vets have developed a distrust of people, while others cannot tolerate angry responses in a conversation. Outreach centers begin cropping up to deal with these issues.

Max Cleland
Max Cleland, a severely wounded Vietnam War veteran who headed the Veterans Administration under President Jimmy Carter, expresses concerns that President Ronald Reagan will cut funding for outreach centers.

Cleland, who lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam, has written a book called “Strong at the Broken Places.” He believes war veterans need counseling to help them develop positive outlooks toward life.

William Duxbury Suffers Without Much Relief or Compensation After Being Exposed to Agent Orange
William Duxbury of Wilson, New York was nineteen years old when the Marines assigned him to handle Agent Orange in Vietnam. Now he says his joints are deteriorating and that he has a nervous condition that cost him his job. His wife gave birth to a stillborn child and their five children suffer from bone and muscular disorders.

Duxbury says he knows of only one Vietnam veteran in Erie County who is being compensated for his toxic exposure to Agent Orange. He says the veteran is dying of liver cancer.

William Duxbury Receives a Surprise Visit from a Marine Buddy He Thought was Killed in Vietnam
Mike Metcalf walked into Bill Duxbury’s life eighteen years after each had thought the other was killed during a shelling attack by the enemy in Vietnam. By chance, Metcalf had seen the story of his friend on WIVB-TV. Metcalf had become a trained mental health counselor and was now in a position to help his fellow veteran deal with issues related to his experiences in Vietnam.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington Gets Mixed Reviews
(2 pieces)
A national salute to Vietnam Veterans will take place in the nation’s capitol. The names of the 57,939 American soldiers killed in the war will be read. There is concern that the ceremony will conjure up suppressed anxiety and stress for some who lost friends in combat.

A black granite wall in Washington DC bearing the names of those killed in the Vietnam War gets mixed reviews. There is “unresolved scar tissue that still remains over Vietnam,” according to Jan Scruggs, founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation.

The war ended about six years earlier but now is brought back in a way that forces visitors to the memorial to confront their own memories. The faces of spectators reflect minds that are “searching, reflecting, pondering, mourning,' according to this CBS News report.

Vietnam Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange Seek Compensation
Vietnam Veterans exposed to Agent Orange testify about the impact on their health. New York State lawmakers are learning that some veterans are suffering from cancer and painful lumps under their skin. Children of exposed vets are being born with birth defects. Eleven million gallons of the herbicide containing deadly dioxin were used to defoliate the jungles of Vietnam.

Three thousand Vietnam veterans have sued five chemical companies claiming they knew Agent Orange could be deadly but failed to warn the government or its troops of the dangers.
Exposed veterans say they cannot receive free treatment at VA hospitals because it difficult to prove their ailments were caused by dioxin.

Vietnam Ten Years Later
April 29, 30, & May 1, 1985
Ten years after the end of America’s most unpopular war, WIVB-TV reporter Rich Newberg looks back at the televised conflict that divided the nation. Veterans of the war are still suffering from flashbacks and nightmares.
New programs are being created by fellow Vietnam veterans who understand the nature of the lasting wounds of war.
Close to 2,500 American soldiers and civilians are still missing in Vietnam.

Western New York families of POW’s or those missing in action keep the memories of their loved ones alive. The stories of Col. Robert Dyczkowski and Jimmy Rozo are featured.

The Case of Col. Robert Dyczkowski—Missing in Action
In 2001 the United States Air Force closed the case of Col. Robert Dyczkowski. His remains, personal artifacts and parts of his fighter plane that crashed near Hanoi in April 1966 during the Vietnam War have been discovered. He was a husband and father of three children. His widow never remarried. Thousands of people had taken on Robert’s cause, wearing his POW-MIA bracelet. Thirty-five years of uncertainty finally came to an end. On April 6, 2001 Robert Dyczkowski’s remains were buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Remains of Col Robert Dyczkowski are Buried in Arlington National Cemetery
While one mystery is solved, more than 1,900 families in 2001 were still waiting for answers about their missing loved ones.


1980 - 2001


Rich Newberg Reports Collection


Buffalo & Erie County Public Library (publisher of digital)


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