Vietnam Appreciation Day. It exists.
by: Abernathy Miller
October 5, 2012
Vietnam is still a sore subject in American History. Many Vietnam veterans suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and violent flashbacks. Who would ever want to relive something so horrible?
Robert “Bubba” Holland, a 21-year-old from Gilbersville, PA– that’s who.
Vietnam Appreciation Day, a documentary by Ivete Lucas and Otis Ike, explores the underground Vietnam War reenactors subculture and their motivation behind reliving such a dark moment in history through weapons, photography, uniforms and battle reenactments.
What the documentary uncovers is almost just as sad as the war itself. Bubba is obsessed with the military, but due to his weight and various mental problems is unable to join. Reenacting becomes a way for him to live as a soldier in a pretend world, since becoming one in real life is not an option. Bubba’s mother Rose even goes on to say she has so many pictures of Bubba in his reenactment garb, it’s like she is the mother of a soldier. In a way, she is.
Other reenactors have become obsessed with the Vietnam War because the Hollywood version of it is so appealing. They get a chance to act in their own personal version of Platoon as it were.
Vietnam Appreciation Day uncovers more than just a strange group of people with a controversial obsession. The documentary takes a deeper look at the human condition, and how violence can be glorified to such a level that actual history of tragic events become lost in translation. Is Vietnam Appreciation Day a somewhat failed attempt to pay homage to the veterans that served, or is it the symptom of a larger cultural sickness?
We’re still undecided. One thing is for sure… the documentary is worth a peak.