1975 notably featured the Fall of Saigon and subsequent end of the Vietnam War. For this reason, 1975 was chosen as the last year of our project. However, we did some preliminary research into creative works post-1975, and did not find anything of interest about protest or war past this date. There may be some student perspectives on Vietnam published in the 1980s, but these would be considered a retrospective work, not a reaction to current events. The last sources for our project are from the 1979 Inklings and would have been written during the 1975 school year. Both feature explicit anti-war themes.

In this excerpt from the "The Victor" by Page Walley 79’, Walley critically depicts war as a serious device by which humanity is torn apart and questions whether anyone can truly be victorious in war. [1] This essay was written in 1975, the same year that the Vietnam war officially ended, but was written as a narrative concerning Army recruiting during World War Two. Despite not directly commenting on Vietnam era events, it is probable that Walley’s ideas are a reaction to the trauma and turmoil of the Vietnam war rather than solely being a first-person narrative regarding affliction over enlisting for World War Two. The critique itself argues that war takes advantage of men’s anger, but never feels the consequences of this manipulation because human lives are only “pawns at his command.” This personification is intensified as Walley writes, “War is not prejudiced! He hates all that is good and worthwhile. He delights in seeing the torn flesh of young men” (8). In other words, Walley’s notion of war is equivalent to destruction and pure chaos that takes advantage of human life and emotions and enjoys doing so. It is no surprise that this account was written in 1975 as the war was concluding and there had been time to process the destruction and loss on all sides of the Vietnam war. In all, Walley’s condemnation and disturbing personification of war makes this one of the harshest, student depictions of war available in the Davidson Archives.

This poem, written in the first-person by Alano Vida for the 1979 Inklings, begins with the main character walking along a bridge. [2] Later on, the character explains that while they are seen as a traitor by others, they view them as traitors and that others refuse to accept opinions other than their own. In later stanzas, readers are told that there is never truly peace and that battles always take place. This transitions into the character explain how truth is being silenced; while those that would choose to speak the truth cannot, others are afraid to do so. The poem’s connection to war is open to different interpretations. The silencing of the truth happens often during war and the Vietnam War is no different. In the final lines of the last stanza, the character states that he hopes “man will / drop the quiet hint / like a napalm bomb.” This is a direct connection to the Vietnam War. Napalm bombs were heavily used during the Vietnam War as well previous wars, including World War II and the Korean War. These bombs have devastating effects. Napalm can result in fatal burns and asphyxiation, as napalm produces carbon monoxide and removes oxygen from the air. The hint in the poem’s final lines is anything but quiet. It will be devastating. Napalm bombs are a symbol of the horror of the Vietnam War and napalm continues to cause environmental and public health issues in Vietnam today.

1. Walley, Page. “The Victor.” Davidson College. Inklings. 1979.

2. Vida, Alano. “The Bomb.” Davidson College. Inklings. 1979.