Photographs documenting the horrors of the Vietnam War party
Chapel Hill, NC — Early this morning, Delta Kappa Epsilon pledges finished construction of a memorial to honor the victims of the Vietnam War party that the fraternity threw last weekend.
The monument will feature walls of black granite sunk into DKE’s front yard listing the names of those who fell leaving the party and those who are still missing in action.
“It comes back in flashes,” said Darren Mathers, a DKE brother, running his hand over the cold stone of the monument. “I felt like I was 100 miles deep in the jungle juice. I couldn’t think straight. The shots just kept coming.”
The memorial lies at the site of one of the Vietnam War party’s most harrowing scenes: men and women in rice paddy hats and traditional Southeast Asian garb sprawled across the lawn, blackout from a night of intense action. The event has come to be known as the Mai Tai massacre.
“Charlie was everywhere. In the trees, in the grass, everywhere. There wasn’t anywhere safe from one of his merciless bombings. None of the girls could take a picture of themselves wearing silk tunics and squinting their eyes without being photobombed by Charlie,” said Alex Martel of fraternity brother Charles Wright, Class of 2014.
Junior Walter Kurtz, once considered a rising star in the fraternity, bore testament to the crippling effects of the Vietnam War party. Unable to attend class or play pickup basketball because of the damage his body sustained during his three tours of duty at the bar, Kurtz did little more than stare at the foundation of the new memorial and whisper, “The horror, the horror.”
Some hope that the memorial can be a place of healing, not only for Vietnam War party veterans, but also for the Vietnamese people whose culture they violated.
“Not a day goes by that I do not feel remorse for what happened” said Vietnam War party veteran Thomas Caley and Social Chair at the time of the party. “I feel remorse for the Vietnamese whom we denigrated, for the American soldiers we made these young kids try to be, and for all the families involved. We were just kids, trying to lead a party. We didn’t know. I am so very sorry.”