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.