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.