As I was walking back from our writers’ Virtuous Circle lunch at the Algonquin, I happened upon the Veterans Day parade. I took a photo of these young men, so young, really, as they marched by and I felt tears spring to my eyes. A combination of deeply complicated emotions surged forth. I am a WWII veteran’s daughter. I love the US Armed Forces. I hate war. And I thought of my good friend, Larry Heinemann, Vietnam veteran, writer, and National Book Award winner, who says that for him, Veterans Day is a day of mourning. He also says that when he got home from the war in Vietnam he was so radical he couldn’t leave his house. On Veterans Day, he stays home and contemplates humanity and doesn’t like to talk on the phone.
But I have some good news to share this Veterans Day, news that is deeply important to me.
Open Road Media is going to reissue an unexpurgated, uncut, uncensored edition of FROM HERE TO ETERNITY in 2011, the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor and my dad’s 90th birthday. This will be the edition my father always wanted published, with the swear words he was forced to cut returned to the text; and with the homosexual sex scenes also back in place.
What amazes me is that it’s 60 years later and our government and military are still waffling about allowing gay people to be honest about their sexuality. I think this is a travesty and so did my father – 60 years ago!
I honor you on this Veterans Day, Larry Heinemann, and all the other veterans who still feel the scars – physical or psychological – that never seem to completely heal.