Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Week 27: The Journal of Patrick Seamus Flaherty

Patrick Seamus Flaherty was a Marine serving in the Vietnam War, specifically at Khe Sanh, in 1968. A native of Boston and a true Irishman, Patrick was given a small diary by his father the night before he left for war. He faithfully wrote about his life in the corps, and about his experience as a Marine at the most famous standoff of the Vietnam War.

I was born in 1979, so I will never truly understand the anger and emotion that prevailed in America during the late 1960's. No matter how much history I read, I'll never really "get it". Much like my grandchildren will not understand present-day America's feelings about the Iraqi/Afghan conflicts. But a perspective like this one, written candidly from the front lines... well, it makes me think.

Patrick's story is just one of half a million troops that were shipped off to Vietnam. He survived and shared his story, I think, on behalf of those who could not. For a tight-lipped Marine, I believe this was an enormous sacrifice.

A good, easy-to-read, poignant book.

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