Forever Young Veterans: Stories of Sacrifice, Healing, & Hope (225 pp. Forever Young, Inc. ($23, hardcover; $15, paper; $9, Kindle) is a collection of 22 stories of men and women who served during World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars. They are written by a variety of people, most of them members of the Collierville Christian Writers Group in Tennessee.
Forever Young Veterans is a nonprofit organization helping veterans 65 and older by “returning them to the places where they fought, and bringing them the honor, healing, and hope they deserve.”
Three of the stories in the book come from Vietnam War veterans. Cecil Brunson completed 160 missions as a navigator in an F-4 fighter jet before being shot down near Hanoi in late 1972. He was captured and taken to the infamous Hoa Lo prison, the Hanoi Hilton. While there, he was beaten and placed in solitary confinement before being released with the other POWs in Hanoi in 1973.
Sonny Bradshaw enlisted in the Marines, arriving in Vietnam in August 1969. He was part of an artillery battalion assigned to build an LZ near Hue. Every two months his unit would move to another hill. On one occasion the base he was on came close to being overrun, resulting in hand-to-hand combat. Bradshaw battled the effects of PTSD for many years after returning home.
Skip Funk was a twenty-two-year-old Marine when he landed in Vietnam in September 1967. He was assigned to Khe Sanh with the job of writing casualty reports. He was there during the legendary 77-day siege in 1968.
One of the stories from World War II is about Charlie Henderson, a young African-American soldier from Mississippi. He made truck deliveries of supplies to Allied troops during the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium. For the rest of his life he remembered the great devastation of entire landscapes he saw during his time in Europe.
In a story from the Korean War we read about Betty Drewry Macyauski. From 1950-56 she worked for the U.S. Air Force’s Service Club providing cookies, donuts, and coffee to airmen. She served on bases in around the world nations, including a seven-month period in South Korea while the war “was still raging, and not far from her front door.”
The book includes a timeline of significant events for each war that will be helpful for many readers. I appreciated how these stories seemed to be told without exaggeration. That makes this a book I’m proud to recommend.
The book’s website is https://foreveryoungvets.org/book