Vietnam Mailbag, Voices From the War is a rich portrait of the social history of the Vietnam War through correspondence from and with Delaware servicemen. In 1968, Nancy Lynch's newspaper, "The News-Journal" in Wilmington, Delaware, began a weekly column of letters from Delaware servicemen in Vietnam. Quickly, the column grew to 3-days a week and received over 900 letters. Nancy Lynch kept all the letters she received. The stories they tell still resonate though 40 years have passed. Nancy states, "Unselfishly, they airmailed their unvarnished, war-torn, homesick selves to us week after week," giving readers of the News-Journal a "tell it like it is" perspective on their situation in Vietnam, AND their views of "goings on" back home. Readers connected with the servicemen and many sent letters and items to them and items for the Vietnamese children they interacted with. Nancy personally answered every serviceman's letter and encouraged readers of her column to write to our troops. Servicemen's families could also make requests for the official Delaware flag. The book brings back the days when the words "you've got mail" had a totally different connotation and evoked visceral feelings. It reflects a time when we actually wrote letters and waited hopefully for mail call to bring us news from loved ones and friends. Like the ubiquitous "Dear John," letters these messages from "the world" didn't always have good news, but the lack of mail often led to feeling forgotten and conjured up evil thoughts about the mail clerks. Years ago, Nancy Lynch did a great service to those who served, and now, brings their voices back again including current interviews with some of the letter writers. I highly recommend this book.Read more ›
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As a Vietnam era veteran (1965-1968), I was overwhelmed with emotion. It just brought back so many memories. Some memories were good and some were not so good but they were all real.
The really tough memories were thoughts about survival and how I could avoid going to Vietnam, even though I joined and I was in the Army. Given the fact that the war was heating up and I was reading letters from one of my best friends as he huddle himself under a desk writing to me of his experience, while bombs were exploding around him (I wish I had kept those letters).
My first thoughts were how I joined. I decided to join because I thought it was the best chance I had to avoid going to Vietnam (what did I know). I was fortunate to get selected to go to Finance school - Great they always put Finance people in safe places - again what did I know. As soon as I arrived in Finance School in Indianapolis, we were told everybody was going to Vietnam, except the top 10 Students. Guess who was #1 in the class.
Even as my three years were coming to an end and the TET offensive was all the headlines, I felt that I had to get out before war was declared and I couldn't get out. The good Lord blessed me by being accepted to New York University and I got an early out. What what a blessing I was finally out.
What I didn't understand was how badly I would feel for all the soldiers including two of my good friends, who to this day do not talk about their experiences in Vietnam. Believe me deep down inside, even though I served I have felt bad about my constant obsession to not go to Vietnam. Then I met the author (Nancy Lynch)who went through the book in the book store. As she was going through the book I broke down and became very emotional.Read more ›
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