Local Vietnam War veteran and former District Commander of the VFW, Mr. Ken Sellers, visited with Eastern Alamance students on Wednesday November 18. The seminar occurred via Zoom during the American History Class of Mr. Patrick Stokes. Sellers was invited to share his personal experiences to help teach students about the war in Vietnam, but also as an effort to promote veteran awareness in association with the Veterans Day holiday.
Sellers served as a Navy medic attached to the 1st Battalion, First Marines Alpha Company serving in the area of Da Nang. Since his time in service, Sellers has actively promoted veterans affairs across the county and the state. Approximately 30 students participated in the virtual discussion that lasted a little more than an hour.
Mr. Seller's presentation was inspiring to say the least. Mr. Seller's account of his time in the service and the dedication of his life to his community and his fellow veterans showed what it is to be a patriot and lay down your life for your country. His story brings the things we are learning to life and an even deeper appreciation for the many men and women who have fought for our country throughout history. Thank you Mr. Sellers!
From Mr. Seller's presentation I learned about the impact war has on soldiers. Mr. Seller's mentioned in his presentation how some soldiers will suffer life long injuries and some may even develop PTSD. This brought me a new perspective on veterans and has further raised my respect for them.
I learned how much our veterans truly go through while deployed and even when they're home again. They will always experience the lasting effects of being deployed whether that be the good aspects such as the family like bonds formed, or the not so good aspects like the danger faced while on duty. I learned that veterans form a sort of shell, in that they try to ignore their fear and push forward according to Mr.Seller "I didn't have time to be scared of dying". Moving forward not only as a student, but as an American citizen I will always consider the hardships a veteran went through and thank them for their service and bravery.
The biggest thing that I learned about Mr. Sellers presentation is that being a soldier and a hero does not end when the war does. When Mr. Sellers returned home from his tour in Vietnam and took it upon himself to give back to other soldiers and to help people who were lost after the Vietnam War, and he continues to help soldiers today. Mr. Sellers is a hero for serving his country in war, however the thing that I learned is that it doesn't end there, he relives those moments throughout his everyday life, and he helps soldiers with their own struggles, as well as teaching students like myself about the Vietnam War. Moving forward in American history I will learn to appreciate the sacrifices that many Americans made along the way so that I can come to school and even learn history. It is a privilege to learn about historical events like the Vietnam War, so that we as the future generation can understand what it is that our ancestors sacrificed for us.
Mr. Seller was well spoken and composed during his speech, I was honored that I got to hear his experiences and take away a lasting one of my own. He described that the best way to live is to live through experiences or to grow through what you go through. Everyone has secrets or chapters in their life that they don't share and you have to realized that and even the smallest action can have great impacts. During Mr. Seller's time spent in the war at what he called the Bush he contracted Malaria and it had its toll. He wouldn't have made it past the dark and troubled time if not for others that had their impacts on him.
After listening to Mr. Sellers I learned a lot about our country's history in Vietnam and many specific things about the war I had never heard before. One of the main things Mr. Sellers discussed that stuck with me was when he talked about Jungle Rot on feet which is where your feet essentially begin to rot after walking through flooded rice patties and dense, wet forests. I also learned how through the use of Chinook Helicopters, the soldiers were resupplied with food, ammo, and other resources. Overall, this presentation will change my perspective when learning about this time period and give me an inside look at how different people during that time felt about the war.
It was an amazing opportunity to here from Mr. Seller's. One of the main parts of his presentation that stood out to me was that he talked about how people can't dwell on the past, they can learn from and but it will only hurt if they continue to dwell on it. Much like Mr. Sellers had planned on being in the business and marketing area that was changed because of the Vietnam war and he became accustomed to the medical field. He did not dwell on the past and be upset about not being in business but flourished in the medical field which helped him in the future during the war. This statement and outlook towards the past effects the whole outlook of a history student as they can't only focus on the bad or what's negative in history but try and find the positives and look for ways that this benefitted or lead to something beneficial in the future.
Mr. Seller's presentation informed me on what the preparation process for the Vietnam war was. I learned the amount of time, and dedication the drafted soldiers had to put in, even for something as simple as basic training, but for an individual like Mr. Seller, it took even longer as he had to get medical training. I also learned of the relationship that developed amongst the soldiers. They were in a less than ideal situation, and had no choice but to depend on strangers they just met, and it seems to have formed a certain type of bond between them. Hearing his story will impact how I think about the military as a whole, but especially the veterans garden in our own town after I heard about the lengths and efforts that went into dedicating that space to our nation's veterans.
My grandfather served in the Vietnam War and I have heard from him about what his experiences were like during the war; during our class today I learned from Mr. Sellers that even though many of these veterans were in the same place during the war, their experiences were a lot different. Mr. Sellers was a medic and during it first years of being in the military, he saw some injuries that many of us could not imagine seeing and to hear about these stories from our veterans, it raises my respect for them even more than the levels that I already had for them. Being able to learn about these events from someone who experienced them is way different than what I could learn from a book because you get to hear different stories about different experiences that people had during the war, whereas with a book, you only read about the overall aspects of the war. Moving forward as an American History student this experience will allow me to have a deeper understanding of the Vietnam War and those veterans that served in the war and be able to relate the experiences to other wars and see how wartimes have changed over the years.
I learned a lot from Mr.Seller's presentation and him just speaking about the war, it really interested me about how what they all have to go through during the war and what they had to do. Like Mr.Seller's talking about them having to watch their step when walking in line to go someplace and having a point man who watched out for traps and landmines. It interested me that he was a medic in the war and all the school and what he had to go through to become one and what he saw when he had to help. It really impacts me because I really didn't think about what all the military did to prepare for the wars and what all they had to go through and also what all they lost if they did lose something. It really interests me in the Vietnam war now because I would really like to see how it impacted everyone and just to learn more about it.
I think the thing that Mr. Seller's presentation did for me the most was essentially humanize the American History we learn in the classroom. As when you are just learning the facts and dates of a historical event such as the Vietnam War you are often missing out on the personal and human experiences of that war that are so essential to grasp and understand. It makes the conflict not just a minor thing you need to study for an upcoming test or essay, but a real and grueling conflict that real people were involved in, who died and fought for our country even despite disagreeing with the war entirely. Overall, Mr. Seller helped me understand as a student of American history the reality of what we are learning and that the people that experienced this history and were a part of it should be cherished now as we may be cherished in the future for the historical experiences we are living through now such as the Black Lives Matter movement and the Covid-19 pandemic. And at the very end of the presentation Mr. Sellers even gives some great life advice about not letting your emotions get in the way of pursuing your dreams, and that is advice which, during this emotionally-charged time, really hit close to home and is advice I personally hope to follow through with as I endure these future conflicts of mine.
Many of us forget how we are able to stay safe and secure in our country and there is no one we can thank more than our veterans and active military. Mr. Seller's story from Vietnam is one way we can look at history and have hope because his experiences let us be able to walk around in freedom in this country. While he did suffer many traumatic moments in the hospital he served in and on the battlefield he came out stronger, that many of us couldn't. American history is so grounded in what it means to be free from fighting in the Vietnam War, to fighting for social change during the Civil Rights Movement, to being able to vote these are always that we fight and ways that show that we have achieved freedom. Many Americans have faced violence such as in the Vietnam War against the Vietcong, to being beat down physically and verbally during the Civil Rights Movement, and those who suffered the horrible day of September 11. But these moments in our history only make the American resolve stronger and makes the strive for change even louder.
I learned a lot from the presentation like the process it took to become a medic and go through all those classes, and how war can be traumatizing with the things you have to see. That's stuff that's not always included in the outside information that we typically learn. It was nice to really get a perspective on things that went on during the war and hear from a first person POV which we normally don't get to do.
I learned about the conditions in Vietnam for American troops during the Vietnam War. Mr. Sellers talked about dealing with "jungle rot", and having to navigate while avoiding mines and Viet Cong traps. He talked about his job and how he treated the soldiers and how his company would set up ambushes. Moving forward as a student of American history, this will impact me because now I understand more of the hardships of war. This will be significant as we start to talk about WWII, the Korean War, and of course the Vietnam War.
Before hearing Mr. Seller's presentation, I knew little about the Vietnam war itself in any context, yet after hearing him speak and share his experiences, I learned a lot about not just the Vietnam war itself, but what it means to be a soldier and how that experience changes a person. War is often depicted in media as chaotic, with people constantly firing at each other and live constantly being lost, yet Mr. Seller provided a much more nuanced perspective, having acted as a medic of sorts in a small group of soldiers positioned in what were called brushes, and while not seeing as much combat action, what they did experience impacted them to the core. What most interested me about Mr. Seller's presentation was his answer to my question that I asked him; I asked him "if being drafted into the Vietnam war and the experiences he had during that time in his life changed how he viewed America as a country". With the America that I have known in the 21st century, an America that is divided and disillusioned, I expected him to say something along the lines of how it lessened his view of America and what it stood for, so I was surprised when he said that his time serving in Vietnam increased his patriotism and love for our country, and it made me respect him even more than I already did. I have a few veterans in my own family but I have not yet had the chance to learn about their experiences myself, but if they were anything like what Mr. Seller's told us in class today, I am proud to be related to them and I am proud to be an American citizen.
I learned a lot from Mr. Seller's presentation on the Vietnam war. The presentation taught me a lot about the process of the war like even before the draft started all the way until after the war was over. It really showed how much the war effected everyone's lives. This will impact me by knowing more about something in American history from someone that experienced it, which interests me more about the topic because it really makes me think and put myself in that persons shoes.
Mr. Seller's taught me what it was like for him during the Vietnam War. The most impactful thing he told me was all the training and hard work it takes to be a medic. He took multiple classes that took weeks worth. He fought hard for his country and did his very best to give his country and patients the best care. I thank him for his service and all he has done for our country.