Larry Heinemann On Vietnam   1 comment

wip-larry-heinemann-5541eposter-videoLike many young men in the 1960’s, I was drafted into the military. Having just received an Associate Degree, before I knew it, I was at Ft. Polk, Louisiana standing with many other dazed young men in the early morning darkness. At twenty-five, I was an old man compared to most, yet equally disoriented. The previous cold January day at the Chicago Induction Center had been the pre-draft physical day for three of us from Naperville. Now being barked at by teenage boys who had only arrived months before us (still too early in the morning for the lifers to be doing the barking), I had no idea that within a year, I would be the only one of the three of us still alive.

We all figured we would be going to Vietnam, and in time, most did. But, I was among the lucky ones receiving other orders, spending 18 months in the South China Sea on the island of Okinawa. Although I was not in Nam, the people I knew, worked with or met while on “The Rock” had the first-hand experience of the war.  A STRATCOM (Strategic Army Communication) Tech Controller, by MOS, I communicated daily with my brothers of the faith in Vietnam, many of which worked in trailers out in the jungle.  If you get the picture, these guys were “sitting duck” and often were on the air with us when the link was lost —  it wasn’t because the channel went down.  We all lived by a very special language of survival, which served as the thread to the fabric clothing our very souls.  Now some forty-plus years later, it is rare that I hear someone who speaks the language. The fabric is the same, only the clothing designs have changed.

Knowing “Paco’s Story,” I had been looking forward to Larry Heinemann’s reschedule Writers In Performance Series reading. I love Heinemann’s writing, but listening to him read from Paco’s Story was simply priceless – even more so, when during the Q&A, he began sharing his feelings on Vietnam. The following video may not mean much too most, especially the several generations since the Vietnam War.  But, for me, he knows how to strike the cores that generate music to my ears. Still, some will always hear the music and continue to pass it on to future generations just as it had been handed down from generations of other young men who had been lied to. Keep the faith!

kenne

Posted March 21, 2009 by kenneturner in Life, MCLAC, Peace & War

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One response to “Larry Heinemann On Vietnam

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  1. Reblogged this on Becoming is Superior to Being and commented:

    I just learned that Larry died last December, so I’m sharing this post from March 2009 when he did a reading on Vietnam. Remember to “Keep the Faith!” — kenne

    Like

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