Saturday, May 21, 2011

Zippo nostalgia

Great article over at the selvedge yard about Zippos and the symbols they became to a generation of men who fought in the Vietnam conflict. Having several uncles and cousins who served in this conflict, this story resonated with me in a big way as it reminded me of them and the stories they used to tell me about their experiences. These lighters became an integral ink link to their lives previous to the war and I remember a couple of them still carried them when I used to see them as a kid...

From the article:
"For our soldiers in Vietnam, something so honest and everyday as a lighter became a powerful token of pre-war life, and a way to express their frustration, fears, and loathing over the war. These young men were sent into Charlie’s jungle to fight an invisible enemy, over a conflict that many didn’t trust or understand– and about the only items they could take with them from civilian life were a wristwatch and a lighter. The Zippo became a symbol of their souls."

read the full article here

1 comment:

  1. The comment box on The Selvedge Yard is closed, so I'll leave one here. Sadly, each and every "Zippo" depicted here, and there, is counterfeit. It's wonderful people still have an interest in Vietnam Zippos, but I find it empty and somewhat perverse that all that feeling and comment (correct, and mostly incorrect) is aimed at modern creations. It seems more and more these days people are lacking any historical expertise or perspective and just go ahead anyway and write pieces before they actually know what they are talking about. Back to the original Vietnam Zippos: They are endlessly fascinating, sad and sexy pieces of war art and should be explored by anyone interested in them. Jim Fiorella, author of "The Vietnam Zippo".