“It’s only one year.” That is what Vietnam nurse, Lynda Alexander told her parents before leaving to serve in the war.
Lynda was just 25 years old when she left to serve as an Air Force nurse overseas. Despite her family’s hesitation to let her go to war, Lynda volunteered because she knew in her heart this was her calling.
“She put her head down crying and my father was behind her with his arm on her saying, “Why I am I sending my daughter to Vietnam? I may never see her again,” said Alexander.
It ended up being the longest year of her life.
“It was traumatic. It was really traumatic,” said Alexander. Lynda remembers having to improvise alongside her team of nurses.
“We did the best we could with what we had. In those days we didn’t have all this technology,” said Alexander.
What she saw day in and day out many of us couldn’t even imagine. But Lynda had to keep those emotions at bay.
“We were only allowed to have empathy and not sympathy, so we went back and we gathered together to shed our tears,” said Alexander.
Lynda was one of 10,000 women that served in Vietnam, saving lives and fighting for freedom, but the welcome home was filled with anything but gratitude.
The perception of the Vietnam War by the general public didn’t make sense to our service members.
“They didn’t know what we were doing. It was so easy to have the media interpret what we were doing, and I remember coming home and looking at the T.V. when M.A.S.H. came on, and I said “no, no, no. That is not what is happening. We were not like that,” said Alexander.
Feeling defeated, Lynda buried these emotions away for decades. But that would change on her recent trip on Honor Flight 16.
“I’ll never in my whole life ever forget this,” said Alexander.
Lynda spent a week with several other veterans, bonding and seeing the monuments that honor their service in Washington D.C.
Lynda served in the Air Force for 20 years from 1967-1987, holding many positions and rankings.
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