Putting the Genie Back Into the Battle

“Many a soldier was denied their well deserved “welcome home” immediately following their experiences endured before and after the American Vietnam War. I would be so bold to say that the nation still grapples with how to help its veterans of many conflicts efficiently cope with their nightmares and find their new normals. What Mr. Copeland has done in his fine memoir, “My War & Welcome To It,” to set apart his memoir from the countless others that are now out there is to show how a life can, and probably should, eventually come full circle for a man to find maybe a few of those answers himself. Copeland shares his childhood memories and those common things that shaped a lot of us growing up (especially in the southwest U.S.) during those times, and continues through the various anecdotal chuckles and shakes of the head gleaned during his military boot training days, and of course the often horrific and numbing tales of combat in the jungles of Southeast Asia, all with a narrative flair that puts you smack dab into the very smells and emotions of the moment, like any good story teller. But what grabbed me by the throat and the heart were the journal entries of his return trip to modern Vietnam in 2013, to once again walk the ground of the birthplace of so many of his nightmares, to look the beast in the eyes one more time, and finally put the knife in its heart and bury it. I am sure Mr. Copeland would be the first to say that the beast occasionally still opens one red eye at times, but it seems to me that on that fateful and enlightening trip back to Nam, he found a way to put most of the genie back into the bottle. Thanks, Sir, for opening up your heart and memories to walk us all down that dark path . . . and safely back again. Oh–and Welcome Home!”
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