As an author, I regularly do readings and presentations. I read from my published work, four novels and seventeen short stories, but also from manuscripts I’m working on. The venue varies. It ranges from community centers and libraries to schools and veteran organizations.

Sometimes, the day being commemorated dictates the content. On Memorial Day and Veterans Day I read on the National Mall and occasionally at other gatherings celebrating the day. But most often, it is the audience that determines what I’ll say.

My favorite audience is veterans and their spouses. These are folks who know whereof I speak. I see nods and smiles when I talk about time with combat units. These people know what it means to eat C-rations sitting in the dirt, they know what a kaibo (field bathroom) is, they understand terms like fatigue blouse, lock and load, and skivvies. If they’ve been in combat, they know the psychic wounds from watching your buddy die at your side. These are wounds that never heal.

When Vietnam veterans are among my listeners, the bond is palpable. These men—they’re nearly always men—know what it means to have fought in a failed war. They understand the anguish of coming home from combat, with all the soul-wounds that entails, only to be met by mobs who called them “butchers” and “baby killers” and spit on them.

These men are my brothers.

More tomorrow.

2 thoughts on “Presentations”

  1. Tom, I’ve been to a couple of your presentations and they are spellbinding. As a Vietnam Vet (Seabees MCB 53 1/68-10/68) I totally agree with your comments about coming home from a failed war. As you may remember, we both were at the Westminster VFW last Spring. I bought a copy of your book “The Last of the Annamese” which was a great read and gave me a different perspective on the war.

    I believed you bought a copy of my book is called “Da Nang Damned!”. It is a fictional account of four young who during their tour witness a murder, which they promise to keep a secret. Forty years later two of the men have to decide whether to keep silent or to stand up and tell the truth.

    I like to invite you to a presentation of my book @ the Taneytown Library on Thursday, June 26th @ 6:30.

    Pete Turner


  2. Thanks for the comment, Peter. Yes, I’ve started your book but then got distracted by other requirements. You said your presentation is June 26? Did you mean July?


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