New Vietnam War Book on Maj. Michael O’Donnell

The New York Times reported June 27 that Daniel H. Weiss, who recently was named President and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is writing a book about the Vietnam War. Weiss, 60, is a former art history professor at Johns Hopkins University and Lafayette College, and the president of Haverford College.

His book, currently titled In That Time: A Story of Loss and Reconciliation in the Era of Vietnam, focuses on Maj. Michael Davis O’Donnell, a 170th Assault Helicopter Co. pilot who had been listed as Missing in Action after his helicopter crashed and burned on March 24, 1970, on the way to rescue a LRRP team in Cambodia. His remains were recovered in 1995 and identified in 2001.

On New Year’s Day 1970 O’Donnell wrote a poignant and moving poem that is part of New York City’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Here’s the untitled poem, which O’Donnell wrote at Dak To:

If you are able,/save them a place/inside of you/and save one backward glance

when you are leaving/for the places they can/no longer go.

Be not ashamed to say/you loved them,/though you may/or may not have always.

Take what they have left/and what they have taught you/with their dying/and keep it with your own.

And in that time/when men decide and feel safe/to call the war insane,

take one moment to embrace/those gentle heroes/you left behind.




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