We Walked Right Into It: Pennsbury High and the Vietnam War

We Walked Right Into It: Pennsbury High and the Vietnam War

by Terry L. Nau

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Overview

"We Walked Right Into It" focuses on a suburban Philadelphia high school community that saw 15 of its former students killed between 1965 and 1971 in a war conducted halfway around the world. This book begins with the story of "Christmas Officer" Joseph Yatsko, who wrote a letter to his alma mater in October 1965 asking for help in supplying his soldiers with Christmas cards and ornaments for their holiday far from home. Pennsbury High's student council headed the successful holiday drive. Tragically, Lt. Yatsko and four of his soldiers were killed in an enemy ambush on Dec. 18, 1965. Yatsko's body was escorted home by his brother Mike, also stationed in Vietnam. The family buried its oldest son on the day after Christmas. Yatsko was the first soldier from Pennsbury High and the first from Levittown, Pa. to die in the war. His loss brought the cold reality of this "conflict" home to the citizens of Lower Bucks County. Each succeeding death only deepened wounds within the community.
This book combines interviews with family members and friends of fallen soldiers with the stories of Pennsbury's Vietnam veterans who survived the war and came home to lead full lives. We learn from the family interviews about the true cost of war: unfinished lives that create an unfillable hole in the hearts of those left behind. From returning veterans, we discover the war has never really ended. We hear from several Vietnam veterans who are battling illnesses linked to the Agent Orange dioxins sprayed from airplanes by their own government. These veterans of an unpopular war talk about being spat upon by anti-war protestors when they returned from Vietnam. We also learn that these Vietnam veterans are filled with pride. They acknowledge their time in the military shaped them as young men. And now, in their graying years, they are part of an exclusive club. Only they can recall the shattering sounds of the Vietnam War. Only they can remember various smells of South Vietnam, or how a heavy rainstorm turned the ground into mud during monsoon season.
"We Walked Right Into It" is a tale that played out all over America during this unpopular war. Here is one high school's story of the war's impact on young men who fought for their country, putting aside politics to do what they thought was right, just as soldiers had done in all of America's prior wars.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781505881134
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 02/24/2015
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 541,717
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Terry L. Nau, a Vietnam veteran who served with the 2/32 Artillery in 1967-68 at places like Cu Chi, Tay Ninh and Trai Bi along the Cambodia border, has now written two books about Vietnam. The first, Reluctant Soldier ... Proud Veteran, recounted his personal journey towards understanding how the war impacted his life.

Nau's second book, We Walked Right Into It: Pennsbury High and the Vietnam War, is dedicated to the 15 former Pennsbury students who died in Vietnam. This book is believed to be the only Vietnam tome that deals with the impact of war, and its aftermath, on one high school community.

Nau, a 1965 Pennsbury graduate who went on to earn a communications degree at Penn State in 1972, is a retired newspaper sports editor who turned to writing about Vietnam after he stopped writing about sports for a living. Like many retired Vietnam veterans, he has time to reflect upon his service nearly 50 years later. The perspective of time has helped him understand the war better. Nau's main goal as a Vietnam historian is to honor all of the soldiers who served their country in an unpopular war, and try to tell their stories so that young people of today can learn from these tales.

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