Team Member Joe Vitola Recalls Divisive Conflict as Ken Burns Film Airs
Like many young men of his generation, Joe Vitola made the choice to serve his country during a time of great uncertainty. By the time his service in Vietnam ended, the nation was caught up in turmoil over whether the war was right – and a host of other issues that would shape the culture for decades to come. Vitola, a bus driver here at Harrogate, remembers it well.
As award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns’ documentary on the war airs on PBS, Vitola and other area veterans are taking time to reflect on the conflict’s outcome, and the impact it had on America.
Vitola, who recalls torrential rains and the fearsome sound of mortar fire, says he did his duty while wondering each day if he’d make it home. When he did return, he found many Americans with a less-than-favorable opinion of the war – and of the men who were fighting it.
“There was a lot of division and a lot of anger, and some of it was directed toward us,” he said. “We were doing our duty. That’s all. We should have been treated better.”
The documentary, which will explore various views and opinions on the conflict, is expected to draw large viewership, including many at Harrogate.
Harrogate has a long tradition of honoring those who’ve served. While the Vietnam War was certainly a conflict that created strong divisions and opinions at home and abroad, Harrogate’s commitment is to recognize the service and sacrifice of those who served America, through various observances throughout the year. We’re honored to count Joe Vitola and his fellow veterans as part of our Harrogate family.