How did the Vietnam War shape you?

Question: What impact did the war have on you?

Armitage:    Well first of all I think when a young man goes to war – and I went for almost six years in Vietnam, in country for almost six years – it has . . . it says a lot about how you will look at the future.  For me that experience has made me very loath to want to go to war again, and make sure . . .  As far as I’m able that it’s . . . that war is something of a last resort.  Beyond that I think it started me in a direction towards foreign policy, something I wouldn’t have even considered when I was a young teenager.  I think you made daily decisions, if not hourly decisions, about the people living and dying.  I remember one case where I was taking a wounded Vietnamese sailor to a hospital in Tainan.  He had been terribly wounded while we were in an operation, and he was so badly wounded that I actually gave him three __________ of morphine, which I thought it would kill him but kill him peacefully.  He not only survived, much to everyone’s surprise – although he lost his eyes, his ears, two arms – but he came back to thank me for saving his life.  So it’s funny.

When a young man goes to war, it changes his life.

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