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All You Have Given

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{ Also by Don Blackburn } INTO THE HEART (2013)

About the author:
Don Blackburn was born near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1947 and raised in Southern California. Boyhood interests included sports, surfing, music and reading. He graduated from Hawthorne High School in Hawthorne, California in 1965. He served in the U.S. Army 1966-68, in Viet Nam 1967-68. Graduated from Humboldt State University in 1973 with a B.A. in English and went on to earn an M.A. at Humboldt in English/Teaching of Writing. Don taught at high school and university level for 27 years. He is a published poet and short story writer. Don maintains a home on forest land in Bandon, Oregon, and lives part of each year in Viet Nam where he volunteers with several humanitarian projects. He is a practicing Buddhist and a member of Veterans For Peace.

All You Have Given
 

Meditations on War, Peace & Reconciliation

Authored by Don Blackburn

In 2004, I returned to Viet Nam to fulfill a vow -- a vow to try and make up for the harm my country and I had caused during the war. I came to Viet Nam as a naive 20-year-old, determined to serve my country, without sacrificing my moral integrity. I had no idea how impossible that would be.

This book chronicles only a bit of the incredible sorrow and suffering I witnessed, only a bit from the many years I struggled to cope with the resulting disillusionment, anger and guilt. Most of the book deals with my ongoing efforts at reconciliation, and how the Vietnamese people, and the land itself, have guided me, comforted, and encouraged me along the way. The book is about what is possible, about looking forward, without forgetting the past.

But really, what was it that brought me back to Viet Nam after 37 years? Was it the vow? Or was it the beautifully haunting song of a young Vietnamese woman who lost her lover to war? Was it the soul-wrenching cry of a village grandmother who lost everything to smoke and fire? Or was it the wise words of an old fisherman who said the crickets' song would call me back?

Whatever the reason, I finally returned. Viet Nam is now my second home. I have Vietnamese family and many Vietnamese friends. I do good work with good people; many of them are also war veterans. These once young soldiers would not recognize the old men of peace they have become. But they and the Vietnamese people will never forget how much was lost, how much was given.

Fifty percent of this book's profits go to humanitarian projects in Viet Nam, namely the Friendship Village Project in Van Canh, near Hanoi (vietnamfriendship.org); VAVA (vava.org.van); and Duc Son Pagoda/Orphanage (email: chuaducson [at] vnn.vn).


Publication Date:
2011-01-13
ISBN/EAN13:
1456327860 / 9781456327866
Page Count:
124
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
6" x 9"
Language:
English
Color:
Full Color
Related Categories:
Poetry / American / General




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