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Serving the Children of Vietnam
By Bill Branson
From the National Office
50 years ago, in January 1973, the Paris Peace Accords were signed, and many assumed the war was over. In fact, the US continued the killing for two more years.
Even then, with the US defeat and withdrawal in 1975, the shooting and bombing by the US may have stopped, but the destruction continued.
The devastation of unexploded ordnance and birth defects from Agent Orange defoliation is STILL an issue in Vietnam 50 years later.
Add to this the refusal of the US to recognize Vietnam until 1995, 20 years after the final withdrawal.
Those hit the hardest in the US war are often in the poorest rural areas. VVAW is proud to continue our partnership with the Library of Vietnam Project and sponsor our THIRD library in Vietnam, once again in one of those hardest-hit areas. See the article below for more details about the new library.
Even though the US never made reparations to the Vietnamese people, we feel in this small way, VVAW can help the sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters of those whom we wronged decades ago.
Whatever role we played in the war, we are still responsible.
We can proudly look back at our efforts to stop the US war. We can now proudly look forward to what we are building for current and future generations.
We are still amazed that so many are still writing books about the war and its impact. It is clear many of us are still recovering from the wounds of war, in all the ways they are manifested.
In this issue alone, our intrepid crew of volunteer reviewers covers new and recent books related to our experiences, whether during the war, while opposing it or dealing with the after-effects.
VVAW stalwarts Jan Barry and Bill Ehrhart are represented in the current batch, both wrestling with how to approach and make sense of the current global conditions impacting us all.
Kevin Basl and rg cantalupo have books reviewed of their poetry and how wars have impacted their lives as veterans.
George Black's book explores the impacts of the devastation we visited upon the Vietnamese. Scott Harding, Charles Howlett and Seth Keshner look at the impact ROTC and JROTC have on the youth of today.
Rosa del Duca highlights the struggles of a recent woman vet while Patricia Rushton collects recollections of 18 Vietnam nurses.
We certainly are a prolific and well-studied bunch.
When we volunteered or were drafted, who would've thought that we would help fight the US war machine and then decades later be helping to deliver direct aid to our war's victims? It's clear that life's journeys are complicated and unpredictable
Advice to Oneself
Without the cold and
Bleakness of winter,
The warmth and splendour
There could never be.
Misfortunes have steeled
—Ho Chi Minh
Bill Branson is a member of the VVAW Board.
Thanks to Jeff Danziger and Billy Curmano for their cartoons.Thanks to
Angel Makishi, Aaron Davis, Hans Buwalda, Marc Levy, Bhavia Wagner, Susan Murphy, Chuck Theusch and others for contributing photos.
Future site of 3rd VVAW sponsored library and learning center - An Nghia Secondary School, Binh Dinh, July 28, 2023.
Award winning students of the An Nghia School, who will be able to use the VVAW Library Learning Center once it is completed next year.