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Our Vietnam Voices

Our Vietnam Voices: Gail’s Story

Gail reflects on her husband’s death in Vietnam and the recurring grief it left her with.

August 24, 2017

Editor’s note: This KCTS 9 video is part of a larger series of local stories featuring people impacted by the Vietnam War.The promotional series is being produced in conjunction with the airing of The Vietnam War, a 10-part, 18-hour documentary film series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, the first episode of which airs on Sept. 17, 2017 on KCTS 9.

"There were rumors that married men and full-time college students were not being drafted...We should have known better."

Gail and David were married in 1965. Shortly after their nuptials, David received his draft notice to Vietnam. Over the course of the year, David bid farewell to his wife, his newborn son, and the country that he loved. He would never return. Just three months into his deployment, David was killed.  Rather than cope with her husband’s loss, Gail chose to ignore the pain, a decision that would have major consequences later on.

“When I saw Desert Storm on TV it really got to me! I never imagined I could have PTSD. I didn’t feel I had the right. I think a lot of people were in the same boat, we ignored the pain until something we saw or heard shook something out of us.”

Like countless other families who lost loved ones in Vietnam, Gail buried the pain deep inside. Now, years later, she hopes that sharing her experience will inspire others to reach out for help.

“My David was a good man, in an awful war.”


Charles Costanza

Charles is a 25-year veteran producer creating a wide range of broadcasting content including social media content, education, public affairs documentaries and live-action filmmaking. He has received several awards as a director, writer, videographer and editor. Charles grew up in Florida, Oregon and spent over 20 years living abroad in Australia. Costanza is a graduate of Washington State University and is a keen fly fisher (always catch-and-release!). More stories by Charles Costanza