Category Archives: Viet Nam

Review: The Butterfly Rose

A new review of my novel The Butterfly Rose by Tom Werzyn in the Oct. 3, issue of the online VVA Veteran Magazine:

Rarely these days are readers granted an opportunity to enjoy an offering so well constructed and presented as Dick Stanley’s novel, The Butterfly Rose(Cavalry Scout Books, 252 pp. $13.08, paper; $.99, Kindle), a three-generation story of an American and a Vietnamese family’s involvement with each in Vietnam.

Stanley, a former journalist who served in the infantry in the Vietnam War, wordsmiths the English language to an almost lyrical presentation.

One example: “It is a valley of flowers but none is more beautiful than the silken, five petal roses that turn many colors in their brief lives, as ephemeral as butterflies fluttering on a green bush.”

The Butterfly Rose centers on a young, Confederate Army officer, Sean Constantine, a large man with a glowing mane of red hair and a beard to match. After participating in The battle of Manassas, he joins the French Foreign Legion. Through a series of events involving his brother, father, black servant, and a stay in Paris, Constantine is posted to a colonial French garrison in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.

His love of roses, developed over the years of his Mississippi youth and his worldly travels, finds a like-minded individual in the 1860s in Vietnam: a village shaman, an old woman skilled in naturopathic and herbal medicines and remedies. She also is a conjurer who converses with the many gods and deities roaming the Vietnamese jungles.

Dick Stanley

Fast forward a century to a team of American advisers working with an [RF-PF] combat team in that same Central Highlands valley near Que Son. Neal Constantine, a red-headed grandson of Sean, is a member of that American team, working as a historian. He possesses his grandfathers’ 1860s diary and flower guide. And he meets the great granddaughter of the village healer, without knowing about the earlier family connection.

The story toggles back and forth between the centuries, chapter by chapter. Parallels are drawn, including the weather, expectations of higher commands, tactics, ideologies, as well as the relationship between the big, red-headed American and the old healer and their shared interest in the roses that populate the valley.

This novel artfully spans nations, generations, wars and people, and it ties all those strands together with a shared love of flowers and of the short gift we all share with each other—that of life.

Mr Boy graduates high school

Finally. Whew. Only takes three hours to hand out diplomas to his 500-odd classmates. What do you bet they screw it up and give the wrong diploma to some.

But no more dealings with the school system for me. I finally get to unsubscribe from their various emails. No more of their political b.s. Oh happy day! Mrs. Charm can watch from afar. She’s been out of their loop for a while.

He’s happy, too, and ready to go off to Texas A&M University in August. After he spends the night at the school. Huh? Yep that’s what they’re gonna do. Spend one last time in the old hoosegow. Me I’d want to be as far away from the place as possible.

UPDATE:  The school system took no chances with the diplomas and gave the graduates a card saying to pick up their diplomas June 6 in the school office.

MORE:  I wasn’t surprised to see the valedictorian was a girl or that she was Asian-American. I was a little bit surprised that she was Vietnamese.

Trump in Da Nang

On Veteran’s Day, no less, although it wasn’t his planning. Note Reuters calls it “the Vietnamese resort city of Da Nang.” Nice

Via Drudge

Ken Burns’ Vietnam: The Antiwar Version

“In his ten years working on the documentary Burns somehow never got around to interviewing a vet like Minneapolis attorney Tim Kelly, who speaks for the many expressing simple pride in their service.”

A good critique with links to others at Power Line, such as scholar Mark Moyer’s dismissal of Burns’ dishonest poop.

I didn’t watch any of it and won’t now for sure.

Rule 5: Ngoc Quyen

Never saw anything like this on patrol in 1969. Would have been welcome.

Still no freedom of speech in Viet Nam

MM

“Vietnam’s one-party state keeps a tight clamp on dissent and routinely jails activists, bloggers and lawyers who speak out against the communist regime.

The 37-year-old blogger faced a maximum of 12 years in prison, and her lawyer said the heavy [ten-year] sentence she received at the closed-door trial was ‘harsh’.”

Via Yahoo News

Our Vietnam War Dead

These are the men of 60th Company, OC 504-68, who were killed in Vietnam. We graduates of that 1968 class of Infantry Officers Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia, commemorate them each Memorial Day.

One graduate:  1LT Jacob Lee Kinser.

Two Tactical Officers:  CPT Reese Michael Patrick and 1LT Daniel Lynn Neiswender.

Four drop-outs:  CPL Sherry Joe Hadley, SP4 Reese Currenti Elia Jr., SP4 Robert Kendrick Chase, and PFC Jeffrey Sanders Tigner.