2017 Veterans’ Voice Award

September 11, 2017, my wife, Patti, and several family members attended the 2017 Veterans’ Voices Award ceremony at University of St. Thomas. The Minnesota Humanities Center started the program in 2013 to recognize Minnesota Veterans who quietly work with the underserved members of our state. I was deeply honored to be selected. The evening had …

Remembering Jim Northrup

In April 2015, Jim Northrup and I were featured speakers at an evening program titled, “Making Meaning of Vietnam.” I will always cherish the memory of Jim, sitting a few feet from me, nodding in agreement and encouragement as I spoke. Jim followed me. My sister videoed Jim’s presentation. As I sat watching the video …

Trump Rally and 1968 Chicago Protests

These recent protests against the Trump rally and the media’s obsession comparing it to the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests have triggered memories of my 1968 confrontation with the anti-war protestors. While serving with the Brown Water Navy in Vietnam I was wounded in an ambush and medevac’d home. On August 29, 1968, our C-141 …

WWII Veterans and PTSD

I recently read Thomas Childers Soldier From The War Returning (2009) in which he explores the lives of three Second World War veterans and their families. The book documents a part of our collective past—an inconvenient truth—that has been airbrushed from our national memory. Yet millions of Baby Boomers grew up in the shadow of …

70 Years ago, A Few Months After Victory over Japan

My grandmother’s diary entry: 11-18-1945: Walked through Central Park—a telegram from John Curry saying he had arrived in San Francisco from Tokyo and was leaving for New York on Friday. This picture, taken two years before I was born, jumped out at me perhaps because of the date. My mother Barbara, oldest brother Chris, about …

Ewa (Eva) Barbacka, my Mother’s Lost Friend from WWII

In September 1939 my mother wrote, Eva Barbacka was a typical Slavic type—a very pale complexion, a round sweet face, large grayish blue eyes and a head of reddish brown waving hair. To tell the truth I had always been a little afraid of her. At that time I did not know that the Slavic …

Memorial Day at a Little Country Cemetery

I stood in the rain this morning and listened to the minister outshout Herefords and Angus cows across the fence. Apparently some calves had wandered off, the moms lowing and the calves replying. It’s natural on Memorial Day to remember back, and as the dripping flag fluttered I recalled the first military cemetery I visited …