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

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