21 May 2013 - THE WANDERING SOULS




THE WANDERING SOULS

G'day guys,

I have many mates who are Vietnam Vets. Today, I feature two veterans who are doing something unusual - a story featured on Australia's Foreign Correspondent - ABC. Vietnam helped Australia find its last six soldiers missing in action. Now, two Australians - former veterans, Derrill de Heer and Dr Bob Hall, are aiming to return the favour.

Using Australian war records, maps and combat references, they’ve produced the first comprehensive account of where nearly 4,000 missing Vietnamese troops might be found.  



In a country where most families lost someone during the years of war, the enduring grief for many is not knowing where their loved ones had fallen. Without that knowledge they believe their dead will be wandering souls who will have no peace. Nor will the survivors.

"I’m very happy to be able to return this information to the Vietnamese people, particularly veterans. Soldiers get on with soldiers. We have a particular sense of humour. We’ll drink beer together, eat noodles together. And I think where there are some very disgruntled people at home in Australia, this is really a peaceful thing." 

DERRIL DE HEER Vietnam Veteran



Enter Laurens Wildeboer. He’s spent the years since his return from Vietnam trying to forget the horrors and futility of war. And yet he’d held onto some very strong reminders of that time – a journal, a book of poetry and a scarf owned by one or more North Vietnamese soldiers. There were very few clues but Laurens’ fellow Vietnam Vets have helped him find an important connection – the mother of the soldier who’d committed his daily accounts of battle to a journal. The journey to return the diary became a cathartic pilgrimage.

"You know I’ve often heard guys say you should come back here to purge the soul or purge the spirit. And it’s amazing. It’s not until you go through it yourself that you realize how beneficial it is to return and have a look at the place and meet the people who show no sign of resentment or misgiving." 

LAURENS WILDEBOER Vietnam Veteran.



Now, you might like to listen to an interview conducted by Chris Smith of 2GB - 873 AM, with these two veterans:


Clancy's comment: Mm ... we don't normally hear good war stories, but I admire the work of these two Vietnam Veterans!
 
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