In response to your Perspective piece concerning the Vietnam War (Jan. 27), Father Louis Menger, missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate, who was in Vietnam in those days of American involvement, came stateside to Massachusetts to re-join his community, due to ill health, and told us parishioners what went on over there.
Communists were overrunning the country, forcing villagers to accept the new regime, torturing kids, killing adults in front of villagers. Booby-trapped kids were used to kill Americans. Even the priest was targeted for death.
The enemy booby-trapped a rice field and told Father Menger he had a sick call in a village. Two guides went with him. One got caught in the trap and died. The priest and the surviving guide headed for the jungle. It took three days to get to the American encampment; they ate whatever they could find.
People who seemed friendly during the day were enemies at night. As a result, the Americans were confused as to who the real enemy was, which may have been the cause for some of them to kill civilians, even if they were not the enemy.
Instead of living with guilt, acting our violently or committing suicide, soldiers who feel guilty about what they have done, as Catholics, they can have recourse in the sacrament of confession and find true healing of soul and conscience because Christ himself instituted this sacrament for our spiritual healing after his resurrection (John 20: 22-23).
Gabrielle DeMoras, Lewiston