Disciples Peace Fellowship Encourages Engaging in Compassionate Conversations Using the PBS Ten-Part Documentary Series on the Viet Nam War Beginning September 17 To Promote Healing the Moral Injuries of Vietnam in America

On September 17, a ten-part PBS documentary, The Vietnam War, kicks off what could serve as an opportunity for our nation to face its ghosts. As Vietnam veteran and advisor to the PBS series Karl Marlantes noted, the Vietnam War unnecessarily killed not only human beings but also American trust in government and people of other races. [https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/07/opinion/sunday/vietnam-the-war-that-killed-trust]

Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock, Senior Vice President for Moral Injury Programs Volunteers of America, and Jonathan Sherin, Director of Mental Health Services for Los Angeles County,

write, “The war, known in Viet Nam as the “American War”, still haunts our nation, ….

““The Vietnam War” PBS series offers America a long overdue chance to purge the traumas of a devastating war that continues to erode our society. The survivors, only a third of whom remain alive, have much to teach us. If, after abandoning them to struggle alone with memories for so long, we can listen and surrender our myths of goodness, we will benefit from the gifts of wisdom and understanding. And being wiser, we may find ways to accept a painful past and find the common values that bind us together, even when we disagree.”

A tack forward can occur,” continues Brock and Sherrin, “if we acknowledge and expand upon what has been recently identified in the mental health field as “moral injury,” a human response to trauma that many veterans of the Vietnam War experience. What an increasing number of healthcare professionals realize now is that we have left many of our veterans unsupported as they struggle alone after violating their core sense of meaning by doing what they were ordered to do, did, witnessed, or in some cases failed to prevent. Many of our veterans grapple with having survived at all. Others carry a feeling of being eternally tarnished by evil, unworthy of love or even of life itself…The moral injury of our nation will not heal unless painful experiences can be told honestly and heard with open hearts, which means listening deeply with compassion and without judgment.

Disciples Peace Fellowship offers the following resources from Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock to assist congregations and groups who watch the PBS series beginning on September 17 or utilize DVDs that will be available at a later date, to prompt deep listening and honest conversation to process together the legacies of an unresolved conflict that traumatizes American lives and souls.

 

Moral injury Presentation DSF 0717

Viet Nam Conversation Guide

Vietnam War Opinion Piece

 

The following Huffington post article provides a great synopsis of the work of Rita Nokishima Brock around Moral Injury, particularly as it relates to the Vietnam War:

A Call to Congregations to Heal the Moral Injuries of the Vietnam War

 

For more information about Moral Injury, please visit Soul Repair, a project of Brite Divinity School.