A United States Marine – an idealist, an enthusiast – Ron Kovic went back for a second enlisted infantry tour in the Republic of Viet Nam. After he came home he used his crippled body in protest to shorten the American involvement in the Vietnamese civil war.
Then he turned author and wrote Born on the Fourth of July to convince young men never to fight in our foreign wars. I tried to finish the book before writing this but failed as I did when it came out because I agreed with him already and wondered what then.
But it is surely the appropriate book for the day. See as well the Wikipedia bio, the thoughtful and varied reviews at Amazon, and the holdings at the Imaginative Representations of the Vietnam War. Happy birthday, Ron!
And a moment for the Marine who threw the paralyzed sergeant over his shoulder and carried him over open ground through machine gun fire to safety. The brother died later that day.
3 thoughts on “Born on the Fourth of July”
I finished Born of the 4th of July last night – a memoir where patriotism and protest are not really at odds. I heard Jimi Hendrix playing The Star Spangled Banner in my head. Forty years later the soldiers in harm’s way are still young and brave. The motives for war are still complex and not copped to. The system is still not equipped with the resources to deal with injuries like Kovic’s or new ones like TBI. Kovic is no longer rolling his wheelchair into traffic or being beaten up by riot-control police. He is no longer crashing RNC events and demanding the attention of responsible journalists – but somebody ought to be.
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Hi, Thanks for the good words. Best wishes – Dan