When Fred Rivera wrote his Vietnam memoir Raw Man, he had the modest hope that by sharing his pain it would ameliorate the pain of those readers for whom the cannons of war still reverberate in the hollow of the night: veterans coping (or not) with PTSD. You are not alone in your suffering, was his message. Fred could not have imagined that the chief beneficiary of this healing would be himself, and in such a stunning fashion. As Raw Man relates, his best friend Herman Johnson “died” in Fred’s arms in battle in 1969, but unlike the 50,000 whose names are etched on a wall in Washington, Herman woke up the day after the battle staring at the sky, a yellow tag on his toe. A scant three months ago, the truth was discovered.
THE POWER OF WRITING! Because Fred wrote Raw Man, events were set in motion that will culminate in a reunion at the Vietnam War Memorial in SEVEN short weeks, the first time these two will have laid eyes on each other in 47 years. It would not be happening but for the written word. This is evidence of another reason that the success of a book should NOT be measured by number sold.
So, please, all of you who visit this site, write with passion, and write with purpose. You cannot know how your writing will change the lives of others, or your own.
For the reunion we have contracted a film crew who are providing their services at cost, and others have contributed airfare. Others are working behind the scenes to make this both powerful and cathartic: Herman never received a Purple Heart, and we are racing the clock to have it authorized in time to have it presented to him in July at The Wall. We are still terribly shy of the funds we need to properly execute this mission. Please, contribute more than you think you can. We need it now; booking hotels and rental cars in advance saves us money, and diffuses the uncertainty of the success of our mission.
“Everyone is broken. That’s how the light gets in.” (Ernest Hemingway.)
With your kind assistance, the light will shine in Washington this July.
Here is the link to contribute: