A harrowing audio recording from the Vietnam War.
Editor’s Note: I cannot independently verify the authenticity of the clip below.
The pop-pop-pop runs together but make no mistake about it – each one was sent into the uncaring air with the intention of ending a human’s life. There are men doing their best not to sound hurt yet they are compelled by death’s pull to tell their comrades that “It hurts to talk.” The sound of hatred is the sound of ignorance is the sound of miscommunication is the sound of misunderstanding is the sound of burning cold fear.
Yesterday I came across the audio clip below on Soundcloud. I listened to it once in the morning. When night fell I strapped on my headphones, took a chair out into the darkness of my yard and listened again. I walked back into the house trembling, as though the camouflaged enemy was lurking in the bushes.
To move beyond war we must remove the veil it wears in public. The Soundcloud user Magneticart believes the same. Here’s how he introduced the clip:
If you can spare five minutes and twenty-nine seconds from your busy life I invite you to listen to this audio recording.
Many years ago, I found a quarter inch audio reel in a rotting cardboard box, covered in dust, while helping my dear friend and mentor, Lighting Cameraman John B. Peters, clean up his garage.
He told me it had been recorded in Vietnam during his coverage of that war.
On the box, still legible, was handwritten: “Firefight, no name village, near Chu Lai, September 10, 1966, Nagra 3, 3,75 I.P.S.”
John recalled that he was out with a patrol that day, and when the Vietcong ambushed them, they all had to duck for cover, but his soundman kept the audio recorder rolling throughout the duration of the fierce firefight that followed.
I think it is important for everyone to listen to this tape, that’s why I decided to share it, as we appear not to have learned enough, yet, from the mistakes of the past.
There is nothing to be seen here, no photos, no motion pictures, no multimedia presentations, only sounds you can listen to.
Sounds of death, destruction, pain, fear, hate.
Please listen. Imagine if you, or your son, or your father were there.
–Photo: “Iraq War Memorial, Boston” dixie_law/Flickr