Memorial Day

A letter my dad wrote to a sibling of a fallen soldier, Maurice

Thanks for being so understanding when I called. My intent was not to bring up past tragedies but to let you know that there is someone else that shares your great loss. That night has haunted me for the past 22 years. It was a turning point for me (for the worst). I had seen many men die & many wounded. But that night brought it all home to me. I remember the next day when the three were loaded on the chopper I was unable to help; all I could do is stand there and watch. I remember it so clearly. My thoughts at the time were, Is this it? Is this all there is? They won’t even let me grieve. Maybe that’s why I called; I was denied the relief of grieving. And they were denied life & you were denied joy.

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Say hi to all

Dear Mom & Dad,

Today we have been searching villages, we walk thru them and then turn around and go right thru them again and don’t think that don’t get tiresome.

Well with a little luck I might be able to go into An Khe tonight and get ready to go on R&R.

Received 2 pkgs yesterday from you and boy did I enjoy them the spread is all right. I don’t know where you get all these ideas but each box is different. I never know what to expect.

I got one letter from you that I never forget it’s the one with the family picture you don’t know how much or what it did to me when I saw it. I actually went home. It’s the best thing you could send me. Thanks ever so much.

Well thats about all the news or the time I have to write it won’t be long before we move out. So say hi to all and tell them I miss them.

Letter home, 27 October 1967

Memorializing Those Who Served

Actor Graham Greene shares the healing journey of Vietnam veteran Sgt Bill Rider during the 2018 National Memorial Day Concert.

Actor Dennis Franz tells the story of a young Marine who served during the Battle of Khe Sanh during the 2012 National Memorial Day Concert.

I expected PBS to do a great job of honoring the men and women who have served our country. But I didn’t expect PBS to allow such raw and honest stories to be told. Listening to what these veterans were made to give and sacrifice in the service of their country was heartbreaking and, in many ways, paralleled my dad’s own experiences of war. My hat’s off to PBS for giving these veterans a platform where they can be heard in such a dignified manner.

Watch the National Memorial Day Concert on Sunday, May 26 at 8/7 Central on PBS. And, you can share your memories of friends or loved ones who served in the Vietnam War on their Wall of Remembrance.

Happy Memorial Day.

Book Review

A long time ago, I included a Goodreads widget to highlight books, fiction and non, about the Vietnam War and realized that I had not read any. Oops. So, here are my reviews of three books.

A fantastic read and a must-read. I was drawn into the book and read every word. Published in 1977, this book encapsulates the experiences (both real and imagined) of the author who was a war correspondent for Esquire magazine during the Vietnam War, from 1967-69. The frenetic stream of consciousness writing style fits so well with the pace of the war and the story as it unfolds.

The author also contributed to the screenplays of Vietnam War movies, Apocalypse Now Continue reading