Times Newspapers blogger Larry Stimeling has released his first book.
Stimeling, a veteran of the Vietnam War who lives in Morton, decided to compile stories and information about some of the 58,282 men and women on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in a book called “From the Wall.”
“After traveling to many sites where the Vietnam Memorials had been on display, I felt I should share my experiences and the stories of the names on the wall,” Stimeling said. “The stories help remember the sacrifice of the person whose name is on the wall as well as the sacrifice of his/her loved ones left behind. Some of the stories are unforgettable. Once they are read, they will be etched into the mind of the reader just as the name is etched in stone.”
Stimeling entered the Army at the age of 19 in 1969 and served in Vietnam for a year. After Vietnam, he finished his enlistment obligation in Germany.
According to the book’s Amazon page, “Larry has traveled to exhibits of replicas of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in many locations around Illinois and adjoining states. Wherever he goes, he tries to learn something about the locals who were killed in Vietnam. This is how we learn most of the information in this book. Larry found the book to be therapeutic. It was a labor of love that was driven by a desire to preserve the memories of those who sacrificed so much at the request of our country. Now rated as a 100 percent service connected disabled veteran, he has the time to travel to more locations and tell his stories From the Wall.”
According to Stimeling, the book features over 80 stories, with some stories focusing on more than one individual.
In addition to the stories, there are comprehensive lists of generals killed in Vietnam, chaplains killed in Vietnam, father and son pairs killed in Vietnam and brothers killed in Vietnam.
He said some of the more memorable stories he ran across while writing included “Roque Versace, the brother of former Bradley men’s basketball coach Dick Versace, who was captured in southern South Vietnam in ’63 and reportedly executed in ’65, yet he remains unaccounted for.”
Other memorable stories in the book include:
• “The story of my high school buddy, Robert M. (Mike) Smith, and how closure came to me and then his family.”
• “The story of Anthony Pendola who was the last 17-year-old to die in Vietnam.”
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• “The story of Dan Bullock, who lied to get into the Marine Corps and was killed in Vietnam at age 15 1/2.”
“All (stories) are interesting,” Stimeling said. “Many are unforgettable. Plus, there are some 58,000 more on the wall that I didn’t get to include in the book.”
Stimeling has been working on the book for four years, including rewriting parts, editing the book and trying to find a publisher. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform is publishing the book.
The book costs $15, and can be purchased on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/From-The-Wall-Larry-Stimeling/dp/1481118129/.
Stimeling writes “From Bravery to Patriotism,” a blog about veterans issues and more, at www.MortonTimesNews.com.