Vietnam was the center of the universe during the years of 1965 - 1973. Throughout that period American units fought Communist-backed liberation forces over patches of ground neither side intended to hold, for a people who did not understand their place on the world stage, in a time lacking moral imperatives. Our political leadership failed to recognize that it was America's soul that was at stake.
Clifford Miller was drafted by the U.S. Army in the turbulent Vietnam
Era. During the course of his military obligation, the young sergeant led an infantry platoon of ordinary boys who became remarkable men. Despite their devotion to duty, courage went largely unrecognized at home. Of the soldiers who survived the heat of combat, many still find
it impossible to bury the memory of time out the wire.
I wrote this book as a means of addressing the feelings that I had pushed down and away for 31 years. They would pop to the surface occasionally, and I chose this avenue to put to rest the doubts I harbored about my service obligation.
There was little interest in helping returning combat soldiers during or after the war, so I felt there might be others that reacted to this indifference in the same manner as I did. I have found some who read Out the Wire to be thankful that I portrayed infantry soldiers realistically, heroic and flawed, young yet older than their years. When I see today's soldiers thanked so genuinely, I feel part of their grateful acknowledgement is felt by those of us who were denighed our welcome home for so many years.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, .... who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." ....
"There is little use for the being whose tepid soul knows nothing of great and generous emotion, of high pride, the stern belief, the lofty enthusiasm, of the men who could quell the storm and ride the thunder."
Theodore Roosevelt - c. 1910
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