Tag Archives: Vietnam War

Perfume River

Perfume River By Robert Olen Butler Hardcover: 272 pages Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press; 1st edition (September 6, 2016) Of all the modern writers I admire and who have inspired me the most, Robert Olen Butler would be at the top of the list. Butler’s latest, Perfume River is a literary tour de force. Beautiful, haunting, and evocative, […]

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The End is Nigh

It has taken me six months, but I feel that I almost finished with my latest writing project, a novella about one day in 1968. I wrote out the first draft for this novella, based on a poem I wrote a few years ago, when I was in Laos last December-February. The story itself is […]

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Lou-J’s Café, 1968 – Oglesby, Illinois Part 2

The summer went by too fast, but he was excited to get back to school. He liked buying new notebooks, pens, and pencils. His mom even bought him some flared pants that had become the latest fashion craze. This year he is in the fifth grade. The teacher’s name is Ms. Snell, but some kids […]

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Lou-J’s Café, 1968 – Oglesby, Illinois Part 1

The ten-year-old boy stops in at Lou J’s Café on Walnut Street in Oglesby, Illinois, a small town of 4,200 (1960 census) just across the Illinois River south of LaSalle and Peru and 90 miles southwest of Chicago. He comes here about two or three times a week after school has let out at Washington […]

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Goodnight Saigon

I am not what you would say a big fan of Billy Joel—I mean I liked some of his stuff back in the 70s like “Piano Man” and his early 80s stuff like “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” “Pressure,” and “Allentown” as well as “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” However, there’s one song […]

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When a taxi ride becomes a mini history lesson

After I finished teaching two teacher training classes in the Solbridge building (the building houses an international school of business associated with Woosong University) near Daejeon Station this morning, I caught a taxi outside to go to HomePlus—about a ten-minute ride away—to pick up a few things. As soon as I told the sixtysomething driver […]

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Robert S. McNamara, Vietnam War Architect, dead at 93

If the names of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines listed on the Vietnam War Memorial could speak, they might say something like this, “McNamara is dead, pass it along.” Check out the Op-Ed piece in the New York Times. Essential reading: The Best and the Brightest, David Halberstam Vietnam, a Television History, Stanley Karnow […]

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Body Count

I don’t remember exactly when I heard about some far off Southeast Asian country and the war that would consume the 60s and part of the 70s for the first time. However, when I did, it was when I heard the week’s body count reported on the radio. It was on the hourly news on […]

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When Chester died on “Combat”

The first time I became aware of death—at least in terms of our own mortality—was not learned in Church or by attending a funeral, but by watching an episode of Combat when I was five or six years old.  In this particular episode, which guest starred Dennis Weaver, who played Chester on another hit TV […]

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Crossing the Isthmus of Panama with Howard and Other Stories — Part 3

  When I first arrived at Howard AFB in September 1976, there were very few airmen below the rank of E-4. From what I understood, before I arrived most of the airmen stationed at Howard had served in Vietnam—either at bases in Thailand or Vietnam. Whether or not that was true or not, or one […]

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