After all those years when Americans considered Vietnam a shameful war, seven or eight years ago, I received an invitation to attend a welcome home party for Vietnam vets. After some hesitation, I decided to go. When I got there, young people, who hadn’t even been born when Saigon fell, clustered around me, shook my hand, embraced me, and thanked me for my service in Vietnam. I was so moved that I cried.
Those youngsters and so many others want to know all they can about the war that was hushed up out of shame. Now I tell my stories openly and with pride. One result is Last of the Annamese. That’s the book where I bare my soul about what I went though when Saigon fell. Even though the book is a novel, there is not a single event reported in Last of the Annamese that is fictional. It all really happened.
And it is through that book that I find peace. It’s a tranquility that’s imperfect at best. But for the most part, the nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks, and irrational rages are fewer these days. I have mostly succeeded in coming to terms with my memories by writing them down.
Hence, Last of the Annamese.