Friday, October 16, 2015


The life experiences of four Minnesota Vietnam veterans were quite different as evidenced by their remarks last night at a forum at the Roseville Library sponsored by the Ramsey County Libraries.  One of the survivors has dealt with chemical dependency and the other three volunteer with a veterans organization hockey program.
The centerpiece to this discussion was the award-winning book “The Things They Carried “ by Tim O’Brien, also of Minnesota.  An actor read passages from the book.  The book may have been too painful for a couple of the participants to read, but no one disagreed with O’Brien’s assessment that the soldiers’ job entailed wondering aimlessly in the jungle and blowing up a few villages and villagers.  
None of the four returned to ‘Nam.
The forum was a prelude to the History Theater’s play based on the book, but I just can’t relive the trauma of the lives of O’Brien, Ted Lavender, Kiowa and Rat Kelly in ‘Nam after reading the book three times.  

Elsewhere, former co-worker Dave Frazier of Boise penned a memoir last year based on his rear echelon Saigon support public information duties with the army entitled “Drafted!: Vietnam at War and at Peace”.  Frazier was compelled to return to Vietnam as a tourist about three times and reconnect with families he knew from the war.  Frazier’s story is quite unrelated to the O’Brien book. (O’Brien pictured.)

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