VOICES FROM VIETNAM
The brainchild of Wisconsin Senator Robert Jauch, a Vietnam veteran who persuaded the state legislature to appropriate$65,000 toward its publication, Voices From Vietnam is a collection of letters and diary entries from 92 Wisconsin veteransof the Vietnam War. Edited by state historian Michael E. Stevens, who sifted through some 12,000 letters and diary entries inthe process of compiling the book, it was intended to help the healing process for veterans of the war and serve as a memorialto those who gave their lives in Vietnam.
As Vietnam veteran Dave Daley, whose own diary entry is included in the book, noted in the pages of the Milwaukee JournalSentinel, the entries come from a range of sources, including helicopter pilots, infantrymen, medics, nurses and Red Crossworkers. One entry is from the only known POW diary smuggled out of the infamous Hanoi Hilton, and two are from Medalof Honor winners. “The letters and diary entries cover the whole range of a war that lasted for 10 years,” said Daly. They “tellstories, some heart-wrenching, some funny, some just detailing the day-to-day life in fire support bases built in the middle ofViet Cong country, similar to the U.S. Cavalry forts built in Indian country in the Old West.”
According to editor Michael Stevens, “A number of veterans who read the early drafts remarked to us that this was the firsttime anyone ever showed any interest in their experiences in Vietnam in 25 years.” Putting the book together “was a powerfulexperience,” he said, “because you’re dealing with raw emotions in these letters. The book permits the veteran to tell his or herstory from their own perspective, and they make the point that history is for everybody–it’s not just for generals and thepresidents and the secretary McNamaras.” As editor of Vietnam, I know exactly how he feels.
Colonel Harry G. Summers, Jr.