When I was in high school there was a course called “Vietnam.” It was a class devoted to the history of the conflict and its effect on our nation. Guest speakers, all veterans of Vietnam, visited the class regularly to retell their war experiences. It afforded students the opportunity to learn things that weren’t in the textbooks, but it especially enabled them to form a complex human connection to a group of people often marginalized, even vilified, by history and the popular media.
The wars on terrorism have given women a higher profile in the military and on the battlefield. Six years ago, based on her own Army experiences, Cathy Santos started the National Alliance of Women Veterans to highlight important issues and protect their interests.