“The Wall” on NPR

Air Dates: Nov. 9 and 13, 2009 (Memorial Day) on NPR affiliate WFDD during breaks in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Born to parents who endured both the Great Depression and World War II, Lew powerfully retraces his lost “rite of passage” into manhood, rooted in the social chaos, deep uncertainties and brutal realities of the Vietnam War.

Our government divided young male citizens into two groups, based on academic ability. When I graduated high school, I could go to college or Vietnam….

On campus, military service was grounds for ridicule. Off campus, it was a sentence of death in a far-off rice paddy, a life of disability from a punji stick or mine, or coming home to taunts of “baby killer” and relentless nightmares.

The fatigue-jacketed vets I joined for cafeteria coffee told of rampant drug use and inept lieutenants whose orders were openly defied. They laughed, but were betrayed by soul-tired eyes.

The full-length (unedited) version is available in MP3 download or with nine additional stories on Lew’s album Defining Moments. To purchase, see Mercantile.

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