The New York Times

I Served in Vietnam. Here's My Soundtrack.

ROCK MUSIC DIDN’T JUST DEFINE THE ANTIWAR MOVEMENT IN THE 1960S. IT SHAPED THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO SERVED, TOO.

“Vietnam.” The word comes camouflaged in music. Rock ‘n’ roll, soul, pop and country. For those who watched the war unfold on the evening news, the music of Vietnam blurred with the sounds rising from the streets of America during a time of momentous challenge and change. For those born after the last helicopters sank beneath the waves of the South China Sea, movies, documentaries and TV shows have repeatedly used music as a sonic background for depicting Vietnam as a tug of war between pro-war hawks and pro-peace doves.

If you weren’t there, it’s possible to imagine this as so much postproduction editing, imposing a relationship between the sounds and the experience of the war. It can all feel a bit trite. Except — it’s true.

More than any other American war, Vietnam had a soundtrack, and you listened

This article originally appeared in .

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The New York Times

The New York Times7 min read
How to Disclose a Disability to Your Employer (and Whether You Should)
The invisible nature of my chronic illness protects me from a whole universe of discrimination and microaggressions, but it also insulates me from potential support. Of course, I acknowledge that my position is a privileged one. Some disabilities an
The New York Times2 min read
Have Dog, Will Write
You might be surprised to learn how many authors on the current best-seller lists have had help — well, sort of — from their dogs.
The New York Times5 min read
Where Are All the Bob Ross Paintings? We Found Them.
Bob Ross appeared on public television for 11 years. In 381 episodes, he taught America how to make a painting. But when one of our colleagues decided he wanted to buy one of these paintings, a simple search yielded odd results. There were hundreds o