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This I Know
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Vietnam: What do you remember?

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Eldonna Edwards THIS I KNOW takes place against the backdrop the Vietnam war. The town sheriff's son is MIA. My main character, Grace, is hyper-sensitive to the suffering of those on both sides of the conflict. If you're of an age to remember that war, what stands our most in your memories? For me, it's the Life Magazine photo that I saw on a coffee table in a doctor's office waiting room. In it, a young girl runs naked through the streets, surrounded by American soldiers and other crying children, covered in burns. A cloud of napalm hangs int he distance. That photograph wrecked me. I was probably 12 at the time. If you're too young too remember, what does the Vietnam War bring to mind?


message 2: by Beverly (last edited Jun 13, 2018 03:02PM) (new) - added it

Beverly I am not too young. I was in graduate school. What I remember is all of my male friends concerned about being drafted and the rest of us worrying about those who had been and might not come back.


Eldonna Edwards I was pretty young but my older sister freaked out when her husband's number came up early. He was fortunate not to be sent overseas. I can't imagine if the draft was reinstated and my son was sent to war.

Beverly wrote: "I am not too young. I was in graduate school. What I remember is all of my male friends concerned about being drafted and the rest of us worrying about those who had been and might not come back."


message 4: by Rebecca, Champagne Widows, 2021 (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rebecca Rosenberg (rebeccarosenberg) | 270 comments Mod
Yes, Eldonna, I saw the war in Life Magazine!


message 5: by Martha (last edited Jun 14, 2018 07:43AM) (new)

Martha Conway | 255 comments Mod
My older sisters were in high school, and they used to fight with my father every night about the war. I remember that iconic photograph of the young naked girl wailing amidst soldiers. I read an interview with her a few years ago, now that she was an adult. I wish I could remember if she still lived in Vietnam.

The war was very divisive, just like the cultural battles we're having now, or the Civil War (which is what I'm writing about now—the immediate aftermath).


message 6: by Alice (new)

Alice | 11 comments Hello, Ellie. I am glad to learn of your book, especially since the main character is a woman/girl caught between the opposing sides on the Vietnam war. I grew up during those years, and all the boys I knew were affected by the draft. I think one difference about that war was that opinions about it were so divided that each person felt compelled to make their own decision about whether to resist the draft or go into the service. There was no wave of "we're going to save the world" enthusiasm, that's for sure. As a girl and young woman, I was very impressed by the fact that boys and young men had to make this kind of life-impacting moral/political decision, and we didn't. The wondering about what it was like to be in that position led me to write the book that was my graduate school thesis. This later evolved into COLLATERAL DAMAGE Collateral Damage, three linked novellas that examine the deep and lingering affects of Vietnam on those who fought, those who resisted, and the family and friends caught in the crossfire between them. Two are set in the US (in 1968 and 1982) and one in Vietnam (in 1993). I agree with the person who said we have entered a similarly divisive period, only there seems to be no clear call to action or path to resolution. What do we want? Peace! When do we want it? Now! Good luck with your book! I hope it attracts a large following of readers.


message 7: by Martha (new)

Martha Conway | 255 comments Mod
Alice wrote: "What do we want? Peace! When do we want it? Now!"

Amen!


Eldonna Edwards Thank you for your good wishes, Alice. I wonder how many people would have signed up for these wars if not for the draft? I'm grateful to those who serve and yet I still believe that most wars could be avoided. Most often it comes down to greed. Good luck with your books as well!

Alice wrote: "Hello, Ellie. I am glad to learn of your book, especially since the main character is a woman/girl caught between the opposing sides on the Vietnam war. I grew up during those years, and all the bo..."

Rebecca wrote: "Yes, Eldonna, I saw the war in Life Magazine!"


message 9: by Alice (new)

Alice | 11 comments Thanks, Eldonna. I don't think any Americans would have fought in Vietnam if it weren't for the draft, although the draft law did push some people to enlist. My brother, for example, enlisted because he was advised that he'd be drafted otherwise, and he'd get better options as an enlistee. This proved to be true for him.


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