August 12th 1998 was the time Linh Duy Vo wrote these words to my late husband. “For America, Love and Gratitude. Dennis and Diana Nickell, YOU ARE AMERICA. “Dear Daddy” is the Pulitzer Prize nominated book of poetry, that Linh offered as his gratitude for Americas finest. Linh was nineteen when he climbed off the helicopter that landed at Camp Pendelton. No longer, was he the Saigon student but the war-torn refugee, who knew only to well the price of communism. Now with silvery highlights in his hair and the passing of time, Linh is still known as the walking talking Vietnam Memorial.
Over the years, being married to a Vietnam Veteran, I had to hear over and over and over what a waste Vietnam was. Oh, I Know all the political reasons, it was not expedient and that some involved in making decisions had their own purposes in their hearts. This has always been. Yet even when I read some of the comments left on our you tube series Surviving Vietnam, I wonder at the lack of understanding of history, the assumption that mere mortals can fully understand the big picture and wonder when did some people get so very ignorant. History confirms there have always been those who would conquer and control, and those who would fight and defend.
Gratitude.org, is the site you can enrich yourself and understand, what the blood in Vietnam was shed for and why America cares so very much about communism not arriving at our shores. Thirteen hours ago, Epoch Times carried a story that US Intelligence says Chinese military units are crossing the United States southern border. Recently in central California a lab was discovered filled with bioweapons and those running it were experimenting with rodents and animals to see how they could best deliver deadly diseases to the masses in America. This lab was set up and being run on behalf of Communist China.
The argument for military engagement overseas has always been, do you stop evil where it exists, or do you wait until it is in your yard, and front door? Isn’t it something that now, we are experiencing the fallout, of not taking care of business and stopping those who would do us harm, where they exist.
Honoring those who survived the Vietnam war, I have often told them about Gratitude.org, and Linh’s mission of love and hope. Not one of them I have ever told about his site, knew it existed and had only heard the usual stupid statements by generations of people who think waiting for their latte in a Starbucks line, is a crisis. Healing for post-traumatic stress and all that comes with it must be for precious refugees and survivors of war the same as our heroes.
Today I am sharing a poem, written specifically for Linh, and his lifetime of sharing his heart. I hope and pray that everyone who reads this article will visit Gratitude.org and remember that NOTHING is ever wasted, and there can be beauty for ashes if we refuse to give up.
The young man
A poet refugee heartbroken over his beloved Vietnam!
His gift to America…
HE IS known as THE walking ,talking living breathing Vietnam Memorial…
Living proof all was not in vain
Gods gift to America the beautiful
For 43 years, Dennis and Diana Nickell shared their lives, passion, and hearts. Dennis, a Vietnam Combat Veteran who dealt daily with the aftermath of his 14 months in-country, spent his later years reaching out to Veterans, their loved ones and tried to help share why you should never give up. Sept, 12th, 2021 Dennis joined his brothers in arms in heaven, who never had the chance to have the life he fought for daily, and his wife Diana still carries on the mission of educating, enlightening, and encouraging those who have paid such a heavy price for freedom.
Dedicated to ALL, first responders, and heroes, Diana has found peace in the wealth of her family and her faith. The YouTube series Surviving Vietnam can be accessed freely at https://www.survivevietnam.com/
“Quiet Place” first appeared in Breaking Chains, written by Dennis Nickell.
All rights are reserved, for created content shared about their amazing journey, including original poetry by Diana. Feel free to contact Diana at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.