August 13 2006
      About The Book, Home Before Morning

photo of national guard chaplains-
Home Before Morning was written by Lynda Van Devanter a dedicated nurse during the Vietnam War. After the war, she became a strong advocate for Vietnam veterans. Sadly , she died on November 15, 2002.

For a long time after Vietnam, I wouldn't read any Vietnam books or see movies. That changed after a friend gave me Home Before Morning by Ms. Van Devanter

I immediately felt this overwhelming rapport. Her account of the time she spent in Vietnam was moving and so very real. In the book, she confirmed the fact I already knew that nurses were the unsung heroes of Vietnam, but I had never written or verbalized it.

Most young nurses, as well as soldiers, didn't have a clue what they were getting into when they signed up. And, yet there they were at Phu Bai or Bien Hoa or wherever, caring for the wounded and dying in extraordinary ways daily. At Pleiku where Nurse Lynda landed, seeing the blood and gore of war everyday was a given.

photo of national guard chaplains-
Home Before Morning
Lynda tells this incredibly poignant incident when she returned to the States.

She was processing out of the military at Oakland Army Base. Like all soldiers, she had this illusion of her homecoming. Here she had gone away and done something really great; she made sacrifices by laying her life on the line for a year. She was anxious to get home.

She sat by the road hoping for a ride, having missed the bus. Many passed by, probably from Berkeley, giving her the one finger salute, screaming obscenities-proud of their protesting and success in dodging the draft.

She didn't realize that here she was looked upon with disdain, as if she were the one who had decided that we should be involved in a struggle in a far away land that many knew nothing about. She had served honorably, faithfully and heroically, doing the job which her nation had called her to do. Finally, an older African American stopped and took her all the way to the airport.

So, here's to you, Lynda. Thanks for all you did for soldiers. I have no doubt you've connected with many on the other side. God bless your family. JHL

Originally posted December 7, 2002

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