Welcome Home by Ross Lewis | Books in Review

Ross Lewis’s Welcome Home: A Monument to Honor: An American Tribute to Vietnam Veterans (216 pp., paper, $37) is a large-format, heavily illustrated book that is a part of a wider project to—as Ross puts it—“foster a unique and powerful American legacy which honors the men and women who served in Vietnam as dedicated, loyal citizens who represented the treasured and cherished values of America’s commitment to preserve our natural human freedoms in the world.”

Lewis served as an Army Signal Corps officer from 1966-68, leading a platoon of the 127th Signal Battalion in the 7th Infantry in Korea. After his military service, Ross worked at WCBS-TV in New York for ten years directing nightly newscasts. He went on to become a professional photographer and then established a program for special education children in New Jersey with multiple disabilities.

For his book Ross traveled to fourteen states to interview Vietnam veterans, photograph them, and collect their war-time photos. Fifty-five veterans’ stories and their then-and-now photos make up the bulk of the book.

Ross Lewis

Among the veterans featured is Herb Worthington, a long-time active VVA member who was drafted into the Army in August of 1969. Worthington had a combat-heavy tour of duty in 1970-71 with 9th Infantry Division’s 2nd of the 60th Infantry Regiment.

Not long after arriving in Vietnam, he became “a tough soldier in a brutally hot and dangerous environment, which tested him daily, ” Ross writes.Life “was a daily struggle to survive the harsh conditions and endless hours in the field, ” Worthington told Ross.

In one firefight, he said, “I can remember that the only thing I heard was my heart. [I] didn’t hear anything other than my heart beating.” It was “amazing what you can withstand. And my thing was I always reacted the right way.”

The author’s website is  www.welcomemonument.com

—Marc Leepson

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