This is the third and last in my series on the American veterans who fought and died. Today we think about the men and women who served in Vietnam. The bravery, discouragement, and aftermath of the war is related in some of the stories in my new book shown at right.
Some facts about the Americans who were sent to this war:
- The Vietnam War was a long, costly armed conflict that pitted the communist regime of North Vietnam and its southern allies, known as the Viet Cong, against South Vietnam and its principal ally, the United States. The purpose was to stop communist aggression. It started on or about November 1, 1955 and lasted until April 30, 1975, which is roughly 20 years.
- This divisive war, increasingly unpopular at home, ended with the withdrawal of U.S. forces in 1973 and the unification of Vietnam under Communist control two years later.
- More than 3 million people, including 58,000 Americans, were killed in the war. (credit History.com)
Many Vietnam vets are still living on our American streets today suffering from the mental anguish of the war. Others have lingering diseases from agent-orange that was used in battles.
Some Americans left for Canada to escape going to Vietnam and they too must live with that decision. The rejection many felt as they finally returned home to the U.S. after the war was a cause of great discouragement. Others fought with honor, whether in the medical corp or flying the helicopters to rescue the injured. The ground troops crawled into holes to find the Viet Cong and often carried their fellow soldiers and marines through the hot jungles. It was a brutal and long 20 years.
The Day Saigon fell to the Communists: There was the final day when the last American helicopter left Vietnam. My doctor was fortunate enough to leave as a child, but the desperation of those Vietnamese left behind was a terrible thing.
“The North Vietnamese Communists closed in on the South Vietnamese city of Saigon. The U.S. desperately evacuated the last remaining Americans on April 29, 1975. But the city fell to the North Vietnamese on this Day, 41 years ago, April 30, 1975…The people were to wait for the code signal, which was the playing of the song “White Christmas.” On the morning of April 29, the strains of the Bing Crosby classic signaled that those leaving had to get to designated landing zones…President Ford ordered an immediate evacuation of American civilians and Vietnamese refugees as the NVA closed in. US Marines and Air Force conducted an airlift of more than 1,000 Americans and over 7,000 refugees over an 18 hour period. They called it Operation Frequent Wind…Thousands upon thousands of South Vietnamese people tried to get on the helicopters as they left. Many had to be pushed down in order to take off. Fear and panic had gripped the people, who knew full well what would happen as the Communist NVA took over the country. Tens of thousands of Vietnamese people stormed the gates of the US Embassy, desperately crying out for help…Vietnamese veterans, many of whom have terrifying memories of the war, remember another airlift called Operation Babylift.” (The first plane crashed. Out of the more than 300 people on board, the death toll included 78 children and about 50 adults, including Air Force personnel. More than 170 survived…..Read this amazing story from this link: Operation Babylift. )
The pictures shown on the video below may be a family member. A Vietnam veteran may recognize himself. If so, he will certainly remember his blood, sweat and tears. Some pictures are not easy to see and the hardship for all is undeniable. Read carefully the words under each picture as they represent men and women of great valor.
Having just finished writing and publishing a book on veterans who fought against tyranny around the world, I began to wonder if our recent generations truly understand what these wars were all about. If you have a teen in your house or an appreciator of history, this is the time to share this blog.
My book, Men and Women of Valor in the Blue Ridge, not only gives the stories of World War II veterans, but of those in the Korean and Vietnam wars. (Click on book at far right for more information)
Therefore, as difficult and as unentertaining as it may be….for it seems the world only wants entertainment, I plan to run a series of three blogs introducing the reasons for each war mentioned and the results of great battles and great loss of life on both sides of the wars.
History is to be learned from…or we will live it again…with even worse consequences. Here is a quote worth pondering:
“I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” – Albert Einstein.
There were several versions of his quote: Supposedly, Professor Albert Einstein was asked by friends at a dinner party what new weapons might be employed in World War III. Appalled at the implications, he shook his head. After several minutes of meditation, he said. “I don’t know what weapons might be used in World War III. But there isn’t any doubt what weapons will be used in World War IV.” “And what are those?” a guest asked. “Stone spears,” said Einstein.
This quote (or at least a version of it) dates back to the 1940s when the first nuclear weapons were being developed. Although Albert Einstein didn’t actually develop the atom bomb, his work did make such a device possible. Albert Einstein did not work directly on the atom bomb. But Einstein was the father of the bomb in two important ways: 1) it was his initiative which started U.S. bomb research; 2) it was his equation (E = mc2) which made the atomic bomb theoretically possible. (Snopes Fact Checking)
Anyone who turns on a TV today is worried that some person or government will go too far and trigger the next great war. Life as we know it could come to a screeching halt from a computer hacker based anywhere in the world. Every phase of our lives, from our energy and water supplies, banking, grocery stores, hospitals, fire and police, cell phones, nuclear plants and much more are controlled by the electronics of today. Einstein was a genius, but even he may not have seen that nuclear devastation may not be the only end of life as we know it. Regardless, the wars that we have fought with our allies in the past were for one purpose…to keep the world free from tyranny and to give us “peace on earth.”
Yes, PEACE…what a wonderful word. The Holy Scriptures tell us… “Peace, Peace and there is no peace.” (Ezekial 13:10) and yet we are told not to lose hope for Christ said… “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14.27
Yet, so often we are afraid…afraid of what the future may hold. We cannot forget the sacrifices of those who believed that FREEDOM was worth dying for. We, or the next generations, must not forget their stories and what they represented to us who are left to lead and to guide our nations. We have freedom of choice because of them.
Below is the first in a historical series to come: World War II…Korea, and Vietnam
VIDEO with narration. Turn up sound
Today is a good day! I am looking forward to a new book to hold in my hands and share with others. Over a year ago, my husband, a retired Navy Chaplain, and I started interviewing our American veterans in the Blue Ridge mountains for a new book called, Men and Women of Valor in the Blue Ridge. This week I sent it to the publishers. We are excited to share this news with our readers. Stay tuned for a special availability announcement of the book hopefully in the next couple weeks on Amazon.
We think the people whose stories were shared with us will be a real inspiration…and their stories needed to be told. Some are in their 90’s and are in nursing homes. We are losing our American World War II veterans and those of our allies at an alarming rate. Hopefully, there will be many books that share their stories. During the terrible battles to keep freedom alive, hope often seemed dim as the bombs dropped and men and women died. There were many prayers for miracles. Our book covers other men and women who served in Korea and Vietnam. It gives honor to those serving their country in the fight against terrorism in more recent battles.
Below is a video of some beautiful children singing in honor of all World War II veterans as they walk on the very ground where furious battles were fought.
One Voice Children’s Choir, under the direction of Masa Fukuda, performs “When You Believe.” Filmed on-location at Omaha Beach and Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial in Normandy, France. Performed in English, Hebrew and French. This song is dedicated to all the soldiers who fought in World War II, including those who fought at Normandy’s Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword Beaches in the D-Day Invasion; and to the millions of Jewish victims who lost their lives during the Nazi Holocaust. (video credit)
We add our appreciation and honor for American and Allied veterans in all wars since WWII.
VIDEO (Turn on sound)
My growing up home place was in the Brushy Mountains outside Wilkesboro and N. Wilkesboro, N.C. Keep this city name in mind for there is a treat at the end of this blog.
After high school, I left with my parents to live in Florida. I never expected that I would one day go back to the mountains. Since Fall is my favorite season and unfortunately, in Florida, we only get a few brown leaves in mid-winter, we have to be in the mountains to enjoy that season. Don’t misunderstand for I’m not complaining about the beautiful green, citrus fruit, or warm weather in Florida. It’s still a great place even with the frequent hurricanes.
Riding just a little further up the mountain to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, my husband and I felt it was a wonderful place to enjoy at least for a few months of the year. Winter is a little too cold for us “flat-landers”, as we are sometimes called. The time we stayed on after the Fall to see the first snow, we bundled up like we were in Alaska to take our dog, Gracie, out for her final evening bathroom break. She would stand and stare into the woods, sensing the deer were close by. Their eyes would sometimes shine in the dark…and the wind biting at our noses sent us racing back inside the house.
Nevertheless, I think that the “country girl” was still in me. Coming back to Virginia and North Carolina, it was evident that I had a great affinity for the way of life and the people of these mountains.
Why do I say this? I only know that the people have a warm disposition and a sense of humor that I have not found to such a degree anywhere else around the world. I have been fortunate enough to visit or teach in places like Mongolia, Guatemala, Ukraine, Switzerland, France, and Japan. Still, these hills and the valleys, where a person can look deep into a ravine, keep calling me back. Fourteen cousins and my Uncle John still call the VA-N.C. mountains and foothills their home…so it’s probably a genetic “family thing” as well.
The Blue Ridge has it all…steep mountain cliffs and valleys, rolling hills filled with vegetable crops and orchards of delicious fruit.
The bear, deer, rabbits, and other “critters” also make it their place of residence. The humming- birds fly to the sweet-smelling sugar water put out in the gardens and the rabbits help themselves to whatever… wherever. Speaking of bear, one came up to our front porch to push over and have her fill at our feeder. No longer do we provide such a delicacy.
From my window, I can hear the cows, donkeys and lambs in the fields. At night the stars are clear and brilliant. When the moon is full, the coyotes roam about making their distinctive sound while looking for something to bring back to their little ones in the den.
The Spring along the Blue Ridge Parkway is filled with wild-flowers and the white and pink rhododendron bushes line the road. Small barns, churches, and family graves stand as a testament to those who have lived here in generations past. Some mountain people with roots back to the Civil War, still proudly fly their Confederate flags and dare anyone to tell them that they can’t. They also just as strongly hold to their “guns and their religion.” They are a proud people, that I have found, will come to one’s help at anytime or any hour.
Someone may ask why I am writing about the Fall when it’s Spring and Summer is just around the corner? Perhaps I’m giving an invitation to make your plans now to see this glorious place. Not so long from now, the leaves will flutter about and turn to a deep orange and red. The pumpkins will lay over acres and acres of the hillsides turning the farms into a special hue of gold. The tractors will slowly make their way from the fields to the barns. Sometimes those same tractors take family or friends on flatbeds to enjoy the countryside. Visitors from far and wide stop and take in the breath-taking views of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
It’s also the Fall that brings the people to these mountains.
Maybe my next book will be for all these visitors who come this way … to give them heads up and a little advice to what it’s like to visit or live in the mountains. I’m thinking it will be titled, “What Everyone Needs to Know Before Visiting or Planning to Live in the Blue Ridge Mountains.”
This might be a part of this new book.
“Don’t come thinking that you’ll be treated like in New York City…or Paris…or somewhere. You’ll have to slow down, enjoy English laced with a warm, Southern drawl, and be greeted just like you are family. When you go to a small, family-run restaurant, walk right in, greet the people sitting there with “Hey there. How’s everybody? Got anything good to eat in here?” (Not “Hi There”…for it’s N.Y City sounding to their ears..and remember this is “Rebel” territory.)
They’ll know you aren’t from the Blue Ridge, but they’ll be friendly- like and greet you with some jolly response. Don’t worry if someone comes over to your table and asks your name or finds out what brought you to these parts. When you finish eating, look around, wave and tell everyone, “Goodbye…see you next time!” They’ll appreciate it.
When you drive back to where you are staying and a truck rounds the corner giving you a “one finger wave,” (NOT the middle)… just wave back. They aren’t flagging you down…but saying “Hello.”
Want to know more? Be looking for my book title sometime in the near future on the internet. As I close this blog, I think I will let the Kruger Brothers sing what it’s like to be in “Carolina in the Fall”….and I would also add… Virginia. Hope to see “Y’all” up this way someday.
VIDEO (Turn up sound)
This year has been an exciting one for me. I have had the opportunity to interview many people for my books and actually seeing the books go to print. Today I would like to share with you my 2017 books that followed my books for children in previous years.
(The links are in blue.)
One of my most recent books, SPENCER’S MILL, is fiction set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. It is a cast of characters with an exciting plot that incorporates the history of the decline and failure of mill industries in North Carolina and Virginia when those businesses went to other countries around the world, leaving people without jobs. It is the story of their strength to carry on and find enriched lives for themselves.
Old Timers of the Blue Ridge is a series of interviews with people who have relatives that go back to the Civil War. The stories they shared are interesting reading and gives insight into the cultures of the mountain people. They tell of what it was like to grow up in the Blue Ridge…their joys and sorrows.
CIVIL WAR RE-ENACTMENTS This book, North and South at the Blue Ridge Mountains, gives a short overview of the Civil War and the leaders from both sides. It explains the Reenactment that takes place yearly in October in the mountains of Virginia, near Ararat, VA. I included a large selection of photographs of the reenactment which gives a beautiful description of this event. Men and women dress the part of the period. The main goal of the Civil War Reenactors is to not forget the history of our country.
THE SEEDS This novel originated from a post on my blog that I wrote in 2010 on Boyer Writes. It was on SS General Hans Kammler and asked the question: “Whatever happened to Gen.Kammler?” After World War II, a number of high-ranking officers fled to places like Argentina. This question seemed to be of great interest to my readers. Some readers wrote emails that they knew where General Kammler had lived. One even said the General was an uncle who was elderly and had escaped prosecution. General Kammler, as portrayed in this book is entirely fiction. The accounts of him, however, are based on historical facts. General Kammler, was in fact from 1944, head of advanced weapons development in Nazi Germany, including the Me-262 jets, the V-2 rockets and perhaps even the exotic Bell Project. The enormous interest in General Kammler led me to explore the thoughts of where he might be hiding and thus, this novel evolved. All characters are fictional, but many of the places described in the novel, as the World Seed Vault in Norway, sometimes referred to as the “Doomsday Seed Vault” are actual places.
I look forward to 2018 when I plan to complete a Memoirs Book called MY STORY. I will begin with as early as I can remember in my childhood.
My remembrances of my days in boarding school and the courage that I found in my faith in Christ during years of adult hardship will be an honest and open account. My family history and doors that opened for me to travel the world as a Christian teacher and missionary will also be part of the story. The joy that I found when God brought into my life the husband I have loved for over 35 years is a part of “waiting for God” to do wondrous things that we know not of. Looking back I know that the things that happened to me and around me were often most extraordinary.
It is obvious to me that everyone has a story to tell about their life. As I have had the opportunity in the books mentioned above to share many stories told to me by others, it is time to write about my own life.
Merry Christmas to all my readers and to all a wonderful NEW YEAR!
It is my delight to announce my new book, Spencer’s Mill. This last Spring and Summer I began writing this fictional story of the people in the Blue Ridge Mountains who endured the closing of mills both in Virginia and North Carolina. Spencer’s Mill made baby booties and employed many people in the Blue Ridge.
The story is one of suspense and drama, but the setting is of real places along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The people that I interviewed were delightful and interesting in their memories of what it was like to have the mills move away to far away places like Honduras for cheaper labor. They endured the trials and found new ways to survive in the mountains. These are strong people and the characters in the story reflect their culture and values.
I hope you will enjoy my new book. SPENCER’S MILL is the 3rd in a series on the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is now available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon
TAKE A LOOK AT THE PAPERBACK and KINDLE VERSION
We often hear that a person who is creative is highly developed on the right side of the brain. An analytical person uses the left side most frequently, so science tells us. Hopefully, there are some of us who use both sides of the our brains. We are told that we use a small percentage of what the brain is capable. It would be fascinating to know what we really could accomplish…should we put our mind to it!
My talents, or lack of, are definitely in the organizational arena, but I know that I am the happiest when I am creating something special. This could be in the realm of art, design or simply setting a table for dinner. Food preparation is also a creative skill that many have developed to our culinary delights. Some of us dabble in many of these areas, but find that there are a few that give the most pleasure.
What are your skills and talents? Perhaps you should think seriously about what areas God has given especially to you , that others say they cannot attain. It would be a shame to waste these or not use them in the way our God, the Creator, wanted for you. You are a unique individual and in that way, you are quit special with many gifts and talents.
When we think of creativity, we also think of the word “creation” for the word actually means: “the action or process of bringing something into existence.” For God Created the World would be one example.
Recently I wrote a blog about a young artist in England who said that his biggest thrill was to actually put something on canvas and know that it is the only one in existence…for only he made it.
Recently, I set aside some of my writing and dived into learning more about video creation. I know that it is easy these days to whip out a camera and push the record button. Actually producing a video with special effects and creative skills is a challenge. Understand me, the video below that I’m sharing, is simply a use of a video producing program that I have been trying to understand. Hopefully, as time goes on, I will accomplish something more profound. I would love to learn animation, so I’m open to any suggested programs that some of you think are great for a novice.
In this video, I am showing some of my abstract art work, and also promoting the books that I have written over the last few years.
Thank you for sharing in this beginner’s efforts at video production:
Turn up sound.
The Blue Ridge Mountains, steeped in history and hard working people, is a special place. It is our privilege to live here part of the year and in doing so, we have seen the beauties of the land and its people. My recent book, Old Timers of the Blue Ridge and More, is a collection of stories behind generations of families who have worked the land and farmed the fields. The fog rolls in over the mountains from North Carolina into Virginia. It is a silent mist that cools the summers and brings the breeze that is felt daily.
Below is a video that I have produced with many of the photographs that I have taken of these wonderful mountains in the years that we have been here. I hope the sights and peaceful sounds will fill your day with God’s love and joy.
Even now, in early August, the fields are ready for a summer harvest and the corn is growing high. The peach juice drips down the chin with every bite. The aroma of peach pie baking in the oven is in the air.
The migrant workers, along with the farm owners, work late into the night to harvest and package the produce, moving it on to our groceries far down the mountain. The rumble of the tractors and the rhythm of the trucks pass our house as they move on to the Painter warehouse, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, to be processed.
Take the winding road down the mountain until you find acres and acres of apples, peaches and more at the Harold Orchards in Ararat, Virginia. They have been farming this orchard for generations. H.C. told me that without the workers who come in from Mexico, his business would go under. Many of these workers come year after year to bring in the harvest.
It is our privilege to honor these hard-working farmers who produce the crops of corn, cabbage, broccoli, apples, peaches and much more. Without them or the workers they hire, our grocery stores would be dependent on foreign providers.
Thank you, Gentlemen. You are the best!
VIDEO: BLUE RIDGE: Photographed and produced by N.W. Boyer (All rights reserved).
Turn on sound.
credits: music “On Golden Pond”
Since you may be thinking of a book for your favorite person or a friend who may be interested in historical fiction or culture in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I am going to give you some shopping ideas from the books that I have written this year. They are all available on Amazon and if you act now, they will be to you before Christmas.
Click on book title for description and price
- THE SEEDS by N.W. Boyer (historical fiction)
- BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY BEAUTIES by N.W. Boyer
- OLD TIMERS of the BLUE RIDGE and MORE by N. W. Boyer
Children’s Books are also available. Great books for Grandparents to give or for parents to read with their children with questions for discussion at the end.
All children’s books by Nancy W. Boyer (for elementary students or early teens)
- CROOKED CREEK FIR TREE ( a Christmas story)
- WILLY THE WORM
- LINDA LONG LEGS
- ANNA and THE ATTIC
- RUNNING AWAY RITA
- BETTY BIG EARS
- TERRI TENNIS SHOES
- SARA STICKY FINGERS
- WAYS TO BE HAPPY FOR YOUNG PEOPLE (for very young children)