Bringing Home the Front
  • Carol Acton


Using her witness as a war nurse, Shirley Millard warns that war is the physical agony of the dying soldier and the emotional agony of a mother’s grief. The ‘bloody’ parade, recorded by Vietnam nurse veteran Lynda Van Devanter as her response to the end of that war, once again brings together grieving mothers and dead sons in an act of commemoration that challenges and subverts the way war is both remembered and forgotten. Post-war grief is here a continuation of war and its manifestation as a parade links it to the anti-war and civil rights protest movements. More specifically, the parade is a public enactment of the dual themes of trauma and grief with which her autobiography, Home Before Morning, is centrally concerned. In the image of the mother carrying the mutilated body of her son, Van Devanter, like the other nurses whose writing will be discussed here, brings together war stories that previous chapters have, for the most part, explored separately: the world of combat and the world of home; the physical trauma to the combatant body, and the psychological trauma of grief. Its context is a nurse’s story that itself parades injured bodies in an act of remembrance and demonstrates the intimate connection between the combatant and non-combatant experience of war. As we have seen in the previous chapter, nurses in the war zone position themselves as intermediaries.


Woman Veteran Body Count Master Narrative Vietnamese Child Break Body 
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Copyright information

© Carol Acton 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol Acton
    • 1
  1. 1.St Jerome’s UniversityCanada

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