Jack Wheeler

Click to read “Theological Reflections on the Vietnam War” by permission of the Anglican Theological Review.

John Parsons Wheeler III graduated near the top of his United States Military Academy class in 1966.  He chose to serve in fire control at a missile base, the front line of our war with the Soviet Union.

After the Army sent him through Harvard Business School he served at the United States Army Vietnam headquarters.  On separation he studied for a year at Virginia Theological Seminary before Yale Law School.

Proceedings of a symposium at the start of Wheeler’s movement

West Point, Harvard Business School and Yale Law School produce general officers, managers and counsel.  At Virginia Theological Seminary Jack mastered the specifics of reconciliation.

He published a journal article about separation of brother from brother, men from women and man from self by the American adventure in Viet Nam during our civil rights revolutions.  He already was organizing a movement to redress these differences.

Wheeler expanded his article.

Jack got land on the Mall from Congress, raised money and called forth Maya Lin’s design with a juried competition.  The compromise he forced through the Reagan administration has been the biggest draw in Washington, DC since opening.

The nation had reconciled once before, on the backs of black men and women and those conquered overseas.  Jack’s ancestor Joseph Wheeler, a rebel general, served again in the Philippines after the states of the Confederacy took Congress back.

Wheeler’s family and work to middle age are a thread in this group biography.

At Yale there is a monument to that reconciliation, Memorial Rotunda in Woolsey Hall.  Jack and Maya each walked as students through the names of the men on its walls on their way to make something better.

Through his life Jack liked to stand with the church to recite the Nicene creed.  When we wrote that we also decided to remember at this time of year the birth of a man who was murdered.

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