I've just bawled my eyes out, in my latecoming to this thread. While I was in my early teens, I knew several older boys who went to Vietnam and never returned. I've been to the Wall in Washington. I have never in my life read anything as eloquent and telling as your posting; it obviously came from the heart and soul which is you.
While WWII was held up to us all as the "big one", noble, etc. it, too, had late day casualties which our government would deny and hide. My uncle Howard joined the Marines when he was only 17. Was at Guadacanal and in a foxhole for some ungodly long time, wounded and hospitalized in New Zealand for over a year before he could return home.
He had shrapnel in his leg and some which traveled up by his heart which the doctors said could kill him at anytime, this when he was in his early 20's. He was a closet alcoholic, a brilliant jazz clarinetist, an exquisite woodworker who never talked much about the war, had a civil service job for the rest of his life, then retirement.
He tried for years to get on disability, fought the bureaucrats for years, even testified in Washington, to no avail.
Unable to talk to anyone about his pain and memories and unable to drown them in booze anymore, he decided not to continue live with the pain and the memories of the horrible deaths and destruction he'd seen and perpetrated: he blew his brains out in 1993, on Bastille day, which happens to be my youngest daughter's birthday. I consider his death to have been a delayed casualty of that war.
Thank you and may Peace be with you always.