HOMEPAGE AND INTRODUCTION

 

 

CURRICULUM VITAE

WARFARE

LETTERS AFTER LOOK

MY PATIENTS

LETTERS FROM PATIENTS

NARRATIVE IN PROGRESS







LETTERS AFTER LOOK

The six-page article in LOOK elicited a response of over one thousand letters to the magazine and an additional number of over one hundred directly to myself.

As I reflect on the past eighteen years in which our nation has once more been sending the young men and women of our armed forces into harm's way I revisited the correspondence of that earlier time and thought it appropriate to reiterate the sentiments expressed by those who decried the sacrifices of that earlier generation. The International Armed Conflict in Vietnam was long ago and far away, but the bodily and psychological harm that warfare inflicts on the members of our military unfortunately remains much the same. Is it worth it?

Here follows a sampling of those letters:

Proper names have been fictionalized. The texts are unchanged except for certain identifying redactions.

 

Dear Dr. Helfant.
O.K., you've made your point. I've read three pages and one paragraph of the open letter, am in tears and may not finish reading it. My kid brother just capped four years of hard, hard work by graduating with honors from Cal. Tech. His draft board rewarded him by reclassifying him to 1A, and his lottery number is 140 or thereabouts. It doesn't much matter, does it? I'm scared ----less. About -----, and because, for sure, someone is going to protect Nixon's fragile ego and he'll never see your letter.
Ross Adkins
p.s. What's David Eisenhower's number?

Dear Dr.,
I've just read LOOK Magazine which carried the letter you sent to President Nixon. To say that I was deeply moved is most inadequate. I think that by the manner in which you wrote your story, with dignity, sincerity, and the truth as you saw it, you have performed the greatest service for humanity at this time; for so often I feel that the greatest crime is that of silence.
I have an eleven year old son who is extremely bright and talented and I know that someday he will serve humanity in a constructive way. I also know that I could never in good conscience send him off to fight this intolerable war, to destroy and be destroyed.
I pray that your letter and the pictures will reach that unreachable man and that he will bring every American boy home immediately so that they too can serve our nation in a more constructie capacity.
My family and I hope that God will give you the strength and good health to continue to serve your fellow men as a great human being and doctor.
Samuel Carson

Dear Doctor Helfant,
Thank you for your "Letter to the President," LOOK Magazine, July 28, 1970. As a nurse, (St. X's Hospital, X, Mass. '52), I can appreciate your anguish as wall as share in it. You see, I don't practice my trade these days, at least not for pay. But a few hours of volunteer service at a local V.A. Hospital seemed the least I could do these kids who have lost so much.
I found to my dismay that even for me, an "old hand" with three years of surgical intensive care nursing in the background, this labor of love was too much to bear. How could I answer the nineteen-year old triple amputee who asked if I thought it was "worth it?" What to say to the twenty-year old wife whose husband has come home to her a vegetable? What do you say to a boy who was going to be a painter, another Gainsborough, as he puts it, who is blind because he stepped too close to a "Claymore" mine? How do you hold back the tears when an eighteen-year old paraplegic shows you his Bronze Star, carefully mounted in the same frame with his high school track medals? How do you keep from screaming when the V.A. administrator gives a seminar on the wonderful advances we've made in traumatic surgery because of the Vietnam War?
If I had my way every single member of the Legislative and Executive branches of our government would be required to spend a few weeks in the Hell of a V.A. or Military Hospital just to see, first hand, the terrible cost of this senseless egocentric war. And what of the children, Vietnamese and Cambodian, ... napalmed, bombed, orphaned? Please forgive the emotionalism, but perhaps it is a time for good, honest emotion... Even Korea, terrible as it was, made some kind of sense ... (perhaps because we didn't say "save" so many for such a dubious future...?)
After I finish this I'm going to put my uniform on and go back to the hospital to make every one I meet aware of the real horror of this war... The trouble is I don't think the average citizen really comprehends the extent of the damage we are doing... alienating our children, wasting our resources, destroying human live, and perpetuating a machine of death...
I stood on the steps of our nation's Capitol on the 5th of May, with 1,000 women; members of the League of Women Voters who abandoned their National Convention to stand in silent protest against the war and the deaths of four Kent State students... We have written letters, visited our Congressmen, pleaded with the President... and still, the war goes on... What do we do now? How do we answer our sons who ask if the "have to go and kill and die?" How do we end it? Maybe more letters like yours; letters of substance... (I'm sorry LOOK edited your pictures... That is what must be seen by the American people... they must be made to see and understand the full extent of the horror).
Thank you for trying, Doctor, and I hope you never forget the things you have seen. That's what's wrong with us all, we forget too easily... Bless you for your efforts, and don't give up... If your pictures could be made available to CBS News, Mike Wallace on "60 Minutes," David Brinkley at NBC and perhaps, most important, Senator McGovern... perhaps you can end it...
Most sincerely yours,
Lois Alden, R.N.

Sir,
Just finished your "Letter to the President" in LOOK.
It was wonderful - - but sad. My only hope is that millions will read it - and understand. Once I heard (or read) a quote from a talk given by a minister (during his Sunday sermon). He said "We are becoming so used to violence - we are becoming insensitve. As an example I quote from a letter a woman wrote to her daughter, 'Your father and I don't go out much or do much. Last night we had an early dinner, watched the war a while on TV and retired early.'" And the minister said "My God, have we become so callous we 'look at the war on TV' before retiring?"
I'm afraid you will get HATE MAIL on your letter so know we are thinking well of you.
Mary McClew

Dear Dr. Helfant,
I just read your letter in LOOK Magazine and I want to tell you from the depths of my heart, God Bless You and thanks, thanks, thanks. What you did is so important. Please don't stop. Keep telling the world. Everyone just ignores this war. Everyone just forgets the wounded, the suffering, the dying.
You probably are wondering if I personally have been to Vietnam or have a relative there. The important point is that I have not and do not have anyone close there, but I believe we should all care and have enough imagination to realize that the human suffering is incredible and for nothing. I believe this war is a sinful thing.
I believe you have made one of the greatest contributions you could ever make to suffering humanity by printing that letter and those horrible pictures.
I try never to listen to stories of operations, etc., and read your letter so that I may further know the need to work to end this nightmare of a war.
For your records I am 47, female, married 28 years, a college graduate and in the above $10,000 income bracket.
Thank you again and again,
Doris Carson

Dear Doctor Helfant:
Wounded veterans owe you a debt of gratitude for your courage in writing "A Letter to the President" as it may help the efforts to improve the hospitals. And certainly it should make more people realize the ghastly cost of the Vietnam mistake. I'm sure it was terribly hard to write and publish this shattering article but truly it cannot but have a great impact on the public.
Sincerely yours,
John Carter

To whom it may concern:
I am writing this letter and addressing it to LOOK Magazine in the hope that it will somehow reach Dr. Murray H. Helfant (A Letter to the President, July 28, 1970).
My younger brother Edward was wounded in the non-war in Vietnam and evacuated to the 249th General Hospital in Japan. By some strange twist of fate, more likely the will of God, his injury was not as severe as those shown in Dr. Helfant's letter. I am sure my parents and my brothers and sisters and myself have experienced the gravest mental anguish wondering if he would live or die in that hospital so many thousands of miles away from home. Edward did recover and was sent home to the most joyous celebration of our lives. He is now serving his final six months in ----- --, --- ---, training more men to fight. The US Army does indeed work in strange ways.
You, Doctor Helfant, may not be the man who operated on my brother, but perhaps if I say this to you the message will be felt by the doctor who did put Edward back together. Thank you for helping my brother live. I wish I could show you my parents' tears of joy or my younger brothers' grins of delight when they saw him home once again. Maybe that would help erase your memory of the boys who didn't make out as well as Edward. God bless those beautifully skilled hands.
Very truly yours,
Charles Mitchell

Dear LOOK,
Thank you for publishing the heartbreaking letter of Dr Helfant's, and Dear Dr. Helfant - thank you for writing a most factual, truthful and articulate letter for the "silent majority" -
I cried - my husband cried - my children cried - It is doubtful that Nixon and Agnew and entourage did -
LOOK - please keep publishing these horror stories -
Maybe it will help the "silent majority" become vocal "peaceniks."
Elinor Savary

Dear Dr. Helfant,
I have just read the recent article in LOOK that was printed on your behalf.
Amen!
God bless you,
Paula McClew
Age 22
Recent college graduate

Sir,
I feel an impact from your letter to the president that says it must have come through the editors pretty much intact.
You caught a hurricane's eye and held it - perhaps with the result that whoever reads your letter will find parts of it stirring them to creative Peace-making, be they professor or manufacturer or just passive.
But also - it was real ... enough to be out of the pitfalls of my opinion versus your opinion. Thank you for the effort you expended anticipating our ineffective anger.
Sincerely yours,
James Albrecht

Dear Dr. Helfant,
I have just struggled through looking at the pictures and reading your fantastic courageous letter in the current edition of LOOK.
I only hope that yur letters of approval and encouragement outnumber any criticism you may receive.
Perhaps this kind of shock treatment is what is needed to rock some of the silent majority off their proverbial butts.
Your article as a follow-up to the Life Magazine article "Assignment to Neglect" I hope will help to do this.
I agree with your letter wholeheartedly and admire your guts and determination on speaking out.
Perhaps you should run for public office and help Congress change its thinking.
We'll tell our friends in Massachusetts to watch for your candidacy. Again our small thanks and admiration for speaking out.
Yours truly,
Susan Bradley

Dear Dr. Helfant:
What a poignantly wonderful article your Letter to the President is. I can only hope he will read it and be moved to get us out of Indo-China fast. Instead of considering all or us who urge this traitors.
During the war I was not a pacifist - perhaps having three sons and my son-in-law all in the service made me unaware of the wickedness of war. Right afterwards I worked as a volunteer at XXXXXX General Hospital in XXXXX. Seeing the broken bodies, the blind, the plastics and the amputees made me leave the Episcopal Church and become a Quaker. This personal history of a great-grandmother as I am now - is not interesting for you, but I think it points up the fact that seeing the results of war makes pacifists fast. A few people in ---- objected to the plastics coming to restaurants as the sight spoiled the appetite of the complainers. This made me furious.
I am glad you are again a civilian where you can say and write the truth about this wicked tragic war, and I hope that soon the terrible memories will not haunt you so constantly. I wish you health and happiness in your much needed neurosurgical profession.
Sincerely, with admiration,
Jennifer Morrison

Dear Doctor Helfant,
How does one begin to express the incredible surge of emotions you have triggered in your letter to Mr. Nixon? I felt a huge longing to DO SOMETHING - but what? Where do I begin? --- and I wire and write our assorted "elected representative," including our infamous President - I hope we have planted gentler seeds of thought and action in the three sons we are so lucky to have. I am not a religious person - yet I "pray" that my oldest son, not in the "service," lives his life unmaimed in mind, body, heart and soul - as I wish all mothers' sons in this world could live.
This letter certainly doesn't say what I feel - I really meant to thank you for all your labours of love to those who were under your care - your skill and concern were not, will never be, wasted -
Thank you for your open letter to Mr. Nixon - I hope he will feel s shocked and anguished as I did - and that he will be spurred into immediate corrective action to stop this deplorable maiming and murdering now!
With best wishes to you and yours for a peaceful and happy future.
Sincerely,
Olivia Boyle

Dear Buddy,
I have just finished reading your "Letter" in LOOK magazine. I want to thank you for saying what had to be said and for saying it so well.
My love to your family,
Alice Alborn

Dr. Helfant,
What a marvelous letter in LOOK!! I'm proud to know you.
I'm also sorry I missed you when you visited Xxxx the other day - maybe I'll see you at her wedding?
Fondly,
Andrea Nagle

Dear Dr. Helfant,
I was shocked out of my complacency by your "Letter to the President"! I should be read by every American as th4e definitive document on the horror of war. It has done more to awaken me to the truth than all the newsprint, television tape and commentary extant.
May God grant you the health and strength to heal men, the courage to continue to speak our against the unspeakable, and the comfort and solace of knowing that one person can to the impossible - to open the eyes of the world to the truth.
Please continue to inform the world about the human "living lost" who are merely looked upon as casualty statistics.
The pain and shock accompanying the impact of the photographs will not leave me for a long time yet. I'm glad of the awakening. ---, my son, whose nightly nightmares revolve around his fear of "going to Vietnam" will never wear the uniform of an American soldier if I have anything to say about it!! If a world of peace is not his to grow up in I will leave The United Sates. We'd better work fast for peace - he's already ten years old.
Sincerely,
Deborah Savage

Sir,
I read your Letter to the President that was printed in LOOK Magazine. It was a heart-breaking letter, and I cried when I saw pictures of some or your patients. After reading your letter I was thankful that my brother didn't have to suffer the pain that some of your patients did.
It's been a little over two months now since my brother was killed in Vietnam. That was his second time over there. You see, my brother was a career soldier. The first time he was with the "1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)" and this last time with the "101st Airborne Division."
I do believe that he believed in what he ws fighting for. I pray to God that this non-war is soon over, and that all our boys will be coming home to their families. Until then, Doctor, have faith in this country of yours, and in the men fighting there to keep it free as well as those little countries.
Elizabeth Alvarado

Dear Dr. Helfant,
I was fixing lunch today when I received my copy or LOOK. I'm so grateful that I had finished eating when I came to the pages carrying your article and photographs. And, according to the editor, more "vivid" pictures were deliberately withheld.
God bless you, Dr. Helfant, for having the guts to write that open letter and God bless you even more for publishing those photographs.
My God, when will these mutilations and butchery of American lives end?
You know something? I'm not even an American. I'm as Oriental as a Viet-Cong. This is my first "cause" letter. Your pictures of mangled American bodies ignited the flame of my desire to be known as one of those opposed to the Vietnam War.
I am married to a marine who has been in Vietnam. And even though my husband has never shared my philosophy, I have always felt that it is idiotic to send American men to engage in combat in Vietnam.
If the South Vietnamese had the slightest ounce of determination to fight for their own existence they would at lest try to lessen their activities in the field of graft and corruption in which they excel.
Most sincerely,
Yoko Manchester

Dear Dr. Helfant,
Your letter and pictures are important. The President must see these as must every American citizen.
The LOOK issue yesterday brought so many thoughts and visions back to me. I worked in the Specialized Treatment Center at Fort Xxxx, Xxxx, (on the Red Cross staff) when the build-up in casualties were beginning to return four years ago.
What a price all these men have paid - and no one knows for what reason.
The lead editorial in this morning's paper gave me hope that others will be similarly moved by your article - hopefully to action against this nightmare.
My bit is little - but I also can influence others as an individual and as a Mother for Peace.
Thank you for your ideas which have given me renewed encouragement concerning the wrongs of this non-war.
Sincerely,
Sandra Bent

Dear Dr. Helfant,
I thank you for your letter to the President published in LOOK. I lost my lunch after reading it and I hope millions of other U.S. citizens do the same. That's the least we can do.
My husband graduated from XX University this June and will begin secondary teaching this fall. The draft was on his tail and we planned to spend the next four years with the Air Force. Bob passed his Air Force physical and then four weeks later flunked his Army physical for a minor shoulder injury that he received six years ago.
I am happy, glad, over-joyed he flunked his physical - it's not that I don't want to be a bad citizen nor do I want Bob to be a bad citizen. He was raised in a military family and would have gladly served.
But I thank God his picture won't be taken lying on a bed in a hospital in Japan. I wish the families of these poor men would cry out. I wish that damned war would end.
I think your letter will make a lot of people push a little harder to end this war.
I thank you! You are fabulous to print what people don't want to see - and our leaders haven't bothered to see.
Dorothy Shute

Murray H. Helfant,
Thank you for the courage, interest, integrity and compassion it took to write "A Letter to the President," LOOK, July 28, 1970. We are very proud of you, your work, and LOOK for not remaining silent.
Gratefully,
Burton Hudson

Dr. Helfant
I watched the TV Special about "Charlie Company." The next day I read your "Letter" in the LOOK Magazine. I guess it was this "double exposure" of the Vietnam War that prompts me to write for the first time to a magazine contributor.
Now, Doctor, let's admit wars are getting better all the time! Well can many of use remember during World War II when farmers and "defense" workers were making big money, while the G.I.'s had earnings much smaller than you could imagine, but really life was tough for the civilians in that war! They went through rationing of their food, no new appliances, gas and tire rationing - oh, you can't believe how grim life was for those "at home"!! Truly often one couldn't buy their favorite brand of soap or even candy bars as the army had first choice. Rough?
But now this time - while our best young men are having long camp-outs in the warm, sunny jungles, seeing new country they never heard of until recently, being waited on hand and foot, (if they have them) in "luxury" hospitals, getting away from it all - in prison camps, etc. etc. We at least can eat the same foods this time and all we have to give up is some extra tax money. Yeah, this war is much better for us civilians and after all there are more of us than fighting men.
But you mentioned that the "winning/" of the war didn't always seem so cheery to these unfortunate men. Well, we won World Wars I and II and I'll wager that those men still in hospitals since those Victories get man jolly hours remembering (if they can) how sweet is Victory! But if Victory isn't reward enough, we can help by always greeting these mutilated men (or their families if the men can't respond) by reminding them "How lucky your are. How lucky you are you weren't hurt worse! How lucky you're alive. My Goodness, you could have been killed."
Well, I'll take my tongue out of my cheek and write seriously. In an airport we saw a wounded soldier with a cost on his stub of a foot with WAR IS HELL printed across the instep! Later in an army hospital I saw that War is Hellier for those who have no foot for a cast for a slogan!!
If by chance, you have not read these enclosed clippings before, I'm sure they will strike a responsive cord in your heart.
Thanks for reminding us and the Pres. Of what this War is costing the "cream of the crop" of men and their loved ones.
Thanks for helping them and my sympathy in your concern for those without hope.
Drucilla Babson

Dear Major Helfant,
I am writing you in care of LOOK Magazine since I am not certain you are still in Boston, Massachusetts.
Of all the photographs and articles I have read concerning the senseless horror of the war in Vietnam, your letter to Nixon in the July 28, 1970 issue of LOOK was the most important since it illustrated with ghastly clarity the cost of that war.
America has sent its best young men to die in Vietnam, or to become irreparably wounded from that war. Articles such as yours show clearly the price some of these men have paid for their service.
As someone not in the medical field I have never seen wounds of the kind you describe and show in photographs. I shall never forget them. Did the men shown survive, if that is the word, or perish, especially since the wounds were so horrible? Did the hospital in which you served treat any Vietnamese?
I hope that you sent copies of all the photographs you took and your letter to President Richard M, Nixon, Secretary Melvin Laird, Secretary Stanley Resor, and other Pentagon officials, as well as every member of Congress. Your information, widely disseminated, will do more to end the war in Vietnam that is a real wound on the entire body politic of America, than all the anti-war demonstrations, many of which I have participated in over the past years.
Truly the body of pity lies bleeding. Yet men of good will are blinded by their insensitivity and only through efforts such s yours will they realize the price of war. I thank you from a sorely troubled heart.
Sincerely,
Grace Singleton

Dear Dr. Helfant,
I have just finished reading your article in the LOOK Magazine and want to congratulate you on a superb (but heartbreaking) piece of writing.
I sincerely hope that it will open everyone's eyes and that something can be accomplished from it.
You deserve a lot of credit for having the gumption and courage to write it.
I also want to express my sincere thanks to you for the more than excellent operation you did on my back: I feel like a new person.
Sincerely yours,
Bradley Nicholson

Dear Doctor Helfant:
Thank you for the fine letter that had to be written. I am glad a man of your background and training wrote it.
Surely compassion and intellect are a great combination.
James Armstrong

Dear Dr. Helfant,
I read your letter in the July issue of LOOK Magazine and I couldn't help but feel shocked and dismayed at the injuries our men have suffered. We Americans have a habit of going through our daily routines, somehow keeping ourselves numb from the realities of this war.
We see pictures of our men fighting in Vietnam and Cambodia and read the casualty statistics and somehow manage to rise above it all unless it touches us personally.
My husband is a career NCO in the Air Force, now serving again in South East Asia. I've always had great pride in him and his career.
I've worked for four months with the National League of Families of prisoners of War in South East Asia. I've seen first-hand the anguish these wives and their children suffer. I've tried in my own way to help their cause.
But I still felt our country was right to remain in South East Asia at all costs.
But down inside I've known this war is wrong, terribly wrong.
And because it's gone on for so many years, I have o guarantee that my sons won't have to fight it when they reach draft age. Your letter and the pictures brought the horror of this war so clearly into focus. I have to commend your courage to speak out and let people see reality, not just statistics on the 6 o'clock news.
Let's pray that all Americans will be as shocked as I was and perhaps to be outraged enough to demand an end to this waste of human life and spirit.
It's time we demand peace, a time when men will not have to suffer as these brave men have done. Surely if can spend millions to reach the moon, the we have the means to insure the security of our country without sacrificing our husbands, fathers and sons.
I would like to thank you for writing your concerned and compassionate article.
Sincerely,
Kathleen Paterno

Dear Murray H. Helfant,
I just read your letter you wrote in LOOK Magazine to Mr. Nixon. Just reading your Letter made me feel sick. I would hate to be the parents or brothers or sisters of the people hurt in the pictures you showed us in your letter. I am very glad you wrote this Letter to the President, to show him and others how people suffer and all people do not live in luxury.
A follower.
Judith Bachrach

Dear Dr. Helfant.
The impact of your article was such that I find it very difficult to express how deeply I feel. You not only opened my eyes to what horrible things are happening but you made me see these things.
Perhaps the Moratorium would have had more of an effect on our President if all the injured soldiers were paraded in front of the White House instead of healthy normal people who had two arms, legs, eyes, etc. It's easier to ignore a healthy human being than one who is deformed, injured.
Please don't stop making people realize how precious a human life is regardless what he believes, where he comes from, etc. A human life is so beautiful but so very sad when it has been all torn apart.
This is my second letter I have ever written in connection with anything of any real importance. The first letter was written to President Nixon as a result of your article.
Thank you for opening my eyes and I pray I will never forget your letter or your pictures.
Very truly yours,
Greta Albrecht

Dear Murray Helfant,
Having just completed your "Letter to the President" in LOOK Magazine I felt an enormous urge to congratulate you on many levels. However, I'll only name a few.
For having the "guts," if you will, for getting all you know (partially) on paper where people could read of what you know. Of course there was a great deal more that you could not, would not, or in the name of good taste, for the publisher, left unsaid.
Unfortunately, being a pessimist, people will read this (not all) and say, "Well, that's war." But how long will they, and I must include the government, recall that we are losing and maiming men in a war that is an undeclared war.
The more I read, the more I understand we could end this insanity and bring the troops home, en masse, pronto! To hell with losing face. The people in South East Asia could go on farming their lands, instead of being killed on all sides. I also include our own men killing their own men - on night patrols at the sound of a pin drop and start firing. At any rate, congratulations for your letter to the "Pres." I only hope he reads it and is filled with the same kind of horror as I've been. Good for you for taking your stand.
The depression on your face in the front of the magazine was enough to tell what you've dealt with.
May this "Undeclared War" be over with and now !!!
Most sincerely,
Robert Stam
Aged 14

Dear Major Helfant -
I just read your letter in LOOK. I worked for the League of Nations in 1917 when I was a freshman at XXXXXXXXX College and for every Peace organization to come along. No man in our family missed a war, my grandfather was in the Civil War, my father enlisted in the Spanish=American, my husband was at Xxxx in the SATC, his older brother was killed in France, our older son a medic in Europe for two years, in the Battle of the Bulge and then in Austria, working nights giving treatments for VD, acquired mostly by young soldiers from prostitutes and skiing daytimes. Our younger son was in Korea guarding a boundary, the war was over but snipers shot guards.
How can we go about getting rid of this political syndrome? When the bomb came our son-in-law, in the Pacific during his duty, said it would stop war. But everyone is afraid to use it. Our daughter, now his wife, was working as a layout artist for the Navy Electronics Laboratory in XXX XXXX, and worked on the Bikini book. When she realized that the vegetation was crucified she, a gardener, felt personally responsible. She had done the end sheets for the book.
It is my opinion that Mr. Johnson could have stopped the war with a bomb. Maybe they aren't nice. Here in California we use a lot of Japanese dishes, soup bowls and plain white china. I drop in on my regular storekeeper about every six months. He came from Hiroshima and says he can never go back to Japan because he is ashamed that he was here in The States, a young child, with his importer father when it happened. He speaks a sort of English and he very nearly weeps when he speaks of the war.
What nonsense war is. Since I am seventy I knew wounded from 1917, a young man in Paris, one leg gone, most of his middle. He had a good career as a diplomat. We had dinner with them in Rome in 1930 but he died soon after.
I took the "Illustration" for years. They had pictures of World War I facial disasters. At that time no U.S. publication would show them. I am glad LOOK showed your pictures.
Don't know what to do - we never have an honest economy and bolster it with war. Why can't we get along without it?
Sincerely yours,
Caroline Baldwin

Dear Doctor Helfant:
Last evening I read your letter in the July 28th issue of LOOK, and my first question was "I wonder what the president will say in reply? I wonder what he can think as he continues in his rounds of political, social and 'unconcern'?"
Before becoming a librarian I worked in a government hospital for amputees from the Korean War... in the Chapel and on the fatal tumor ward. During that time, before, and since, I recall reading a book several years ago with the setting in early Mexico--- when every citizen of one community was forced** to visit the hospital and see the plight of his fellow man in deplorable conditions... Too many of our UNCONCERNED and COMPLACENT citizens give little thought to the RESULTS of war...
My purpose in writing this is to learn from you, if it is not too much trouble, about the response you receive from your publication of your letter. A small group of CONCERNED individuals in this small community strive to explain their views of the sorry plight of our country -- with the usual reaction found in so many places... THERE MUST BE SOME WAY! And I, as one concerned person, would like to know what that ways is. Thank you for "reading!"
**once a year, on a special day
Sincerely,
Margaret Arias

Dear Dr. Helfant,
I hope that I have addressed you correctly... Brilliant your letter to LOOK. You, Sir, are one of the few people who has ever caused me to miss a meal. And this time on an intellectual basis. Not that the sights were not indeed gross. If there were more letters like yours, perhaps war would become a thing of the past.
And if there is anything I can do, short of going to at least the Vietnam War, please feel free to call upon me.
But I doubt that any magazine such as LOOK could run your letter or one such as it in every article. People would soon become repelled by such truth. In a recent TV program showing how amputees caused by Vietnam were being fitted with artificial limbs. This made everything just ducky. But every one soldier in that program came out on top of it, or at least with a fighting chance.
You, Sir, went beyond realism to realism, and this owing to the fantasy which people live it.
At best -- Right on Brother, right on!
Sincerely,
Robert Taggart

Dear Dr. Helfant,
We have just read your letter to the President that appeared in the July 28 issue of LOOK Magazine. Although this letter was not addressed to us we feel deeply moved to express to you as best we can through the inadequate medium of words our reaction.
Your medical skills helped to alleviate the suffering of these people but your letter to the President is a milestone in the effort to prevent the cause of that suffering.
Sincerely,
John Berry

Dear Dr. Helfant:
I must write this concerning your letter to the President in LOOK, July 28, 1970.
It was a traumatic experience, almost without parallel. I believe we all know what war is, but few of us get the actual impact. This is as close as I want to come. It is one of the saddest, most futile, most inhumane, most uncalled for butchery, both mental and physical, in this sadistic world.
We have a son in the Air Force medical corps. He has been to Vietnam and has been through the crucible, but he will not talk about it. It is probably too horrible to discuss in conversation. I can see that your approach is right. However, we all know that it will not stop. This is the saddest truth of all. God will have to take over soon, because we cannot live peacefully in this world as it is (or we will not).
Of all the terrible pictures (thanks for not showing anything worse) the one that stays with me is the one of the boy who is face down on the table and for all practical purpose is cut in two. I would like to know if he is alive and how, if so, you could put him together (or hold him together) so that he can operate or function. I must admit that seeing him lying there, so helpless and knowing how much he wanted to live, that it was almost too much. Of course I feel the same way about all of them, but something about him hit me the hardest.
I hope with the help of God that all of the suffering will end soon; that includes all suffering in the World. In the meantime I know that you will do the best that you can.
Sincerely,
Barbara Polk

Know what makes it a beautiful world?
People like you.
Unsigned

Dear Murray,
I just finished reading your letter to the President in LOOK Magazine. No account of this so-called conflict has, up till now, made such a deep impression on me or hit home quite so hard. I guess what I'm trying to say is that, for the first time, my few and very ambivalent thoughts about this war have gravitated down to one point - I'm sick to my stomach at the sight (through your eyes) of such horror and suffering, and as an American citizen, I'm deeply ashamed to be part of a people who would do this to their own. I begin to realize what an atrocity this whole business is, and having heard the story from someone I know, I cannot ease my sick feeling by saying "It just couldn't be that bad."
Having had the privilege of scrubbing with you and seeing you with your patients, I am deeply moved by the thought of what those two years must have done to you. I'm not very good at putting my muddled thoughts into words, but I feel I want to apologize to you for what you had to go through "in defense of your country and the people back home." I'm not too proud that I'm one of the "people back home." The point of your letter was, of course, the horrible price being paid by those you treated, but I'm completely unworthy of their sacrifices and I can't feel anything relating to them but guilt and shame. I could not dare to put any more than that into words - there just aren't any.
Living inXX XXXand working at XXX Hospital at XXX, I've seen a great many of the casualties resulting from protest riots, "peace marches," and counter-attacks by the increasingly militant Silent Majority. I've had my belly-full of the Black Panthers, Young Lords, Peace-and-Freedom Marchers, and countless other "peace" groups. The war-mongers are wrong, but are the opposing forces any better when they protest this war by murdering and maiming firemen and policemen, even children - supposedly to "save" them from growing up to die in the next Vietnam? These are the stories that never reach the newspapers - it's amazing what politics and a little money can keep quiet - but our emergency room, O.R., and ward beds are filled with the evidence of man's capacity for brutality against his brother in the name of "justice." "God save us from the things men do in the name of good."
I don't know why I bother telling you this, except you mustn't think I'm apathetic to this war or indifferent to your efforts to end it. There are so many like me - we don't carry signs or protest in public - but we care. I don't understand politics, politicians or the "issues" of the day. What else can I do - as a wife, mother, and right now the support of my family - but to do my job the best I know how, offer through my nursing whatever comfort and love I can, and live my beliefs of peace and realistic brotherhood? I will raise my children to see themselves in all people, to appreciate and cherish in a peaceful existence, and hope that my influence on my tiny corner to the world will rub off enough to have a positive effect on my children's world. As for the present, I feel helpless - do I make sense, or am I babbling?
I'm sure you have better things to do than sit around reading a letter from me, so I'll close, having failed somewhat in telling you all the thoughts your letter inspired. I'm sure it had a great impact on all who read it, but perhaps I felt a bit more, since I could see the face of the man who wrote it, and I understand, to some extent, his gentle manner, abhorrence of violence and suffering and his deep involvement with his patients.
Professionally I consider myself privileged to have worked for you on several occasions at XXX - you have my deepest admiration. Personally, s the mother of children who must inherit this sick world someday, as a friend of a few years ago, I can only offer and hope you'll accept a most humble and sincere (however inadequate) thank you. With all my heart, Murray, thank you.
Sincerely,
Ruth Taber
p.s. I'm happy to say we're moving out of XXX City in 2 weeks - back to civilization in the country. Perhaps, with luck, we'll move to Mass. In another year or so I'd love a chance to work at XXX again, and to get back into an O.R. gown. I've been a head nurse on an XXXXXXX ward for two years, and I miss surgery terribly. Would you believe I still remember your routine, at least as it was in 1967!

Dear Sir:
I read your "Letter to the President" as was printed in the July issue of "LOOK magazine. I sure hope and pray that every Senator, Congressman and Mr. President take this and read it, and hope that at least 51% of them can understand the meaning of it. It looks like some of these "elected personnel" would be human. Every word and meaning you wrote I agree with 100%.
I am a "Korean War" veteran, 41 years old, drafted in June '51 and discharged in '53. I'm the father of six sons and three girls. The oldest four are boys 15, 13, 11 and 10 years old. I sure am bringing them up in a good country, "The U.S.A." I have a bad knee but 10 days out of service was called for an interview and some big doctor said it's O.K. and I should go back home. It bothers me some every day. I never did get 1cent disability. I got $4.00 transportation pay to go to the Vet Hospital for check up.
I own a 150 acre hilly farm and do bulldozing work. I run the dozer several years (15) but I got troubles now and have to hire a lot of help. My father, a WW I Vet, died at the age of 41. I had 2 brothers and 1 sister and I the second oldest was 5 years old when he died. My mother raised us four children and never received 1cent pension. She was told she wasn't entitled to it. She died 10 years ago at the age of 60. She had hardening of the arteries. My wife and one brother's wife cared for her about 15 years before she died. We had to borrow some money to pay her funeral expense.
I'm not much of a letter write, but I sure believe you to be a 100% #1 man.
Sincerely,
John Baldacci
p.s. If you can figure out something to further promote your feelings I couldn't help much financially but could get a lot of followers that could. I would what I could. I hope you get this letter.

Dr. Helfant,
I hope this letter reaches you.
I just read your letter to the President published in LOOK. I enjoyed your sarcasm.
I am a dentist. I spent 2 1/2 years in Xxxxx at the Naval Facility in Xxxx. During that time I had the opportunity to visit the army's Xxxxx Hospital, see the wars and help treat some of the patients. After seeing and treating the victims of the war in Viet Nam I too got a sick feeling. I too asked questions. Why this G.D. war? Why do people have to fight and die? Your letter brought back an old familiar knot in the pit of my stomach and in my throat. I thin I know, at least a little, how you feel.
When I was a kid I played soldier, and after getting shot I went to great lengths to fall in a realistic manner. It was a great game. But now, after seeing and treating, if only in a limited way, war is no longer a game or a bunch of numbers. War is a brutal and stark reality. Killing is more real to me and to you than to any General. He does not treat and try to cure. All he does is Generate.
We were both sick and are both still suffering from a disease, but my cure has taken a different course than yours. I am more determined than ever mot to give up, or quit, or to step back even one step. Do you think your letter will help end the war in Viet Nam, help the wounded or the future wounded? I think not! There will always be aggression and aggressors. They may be Communists or Black Militants or White Bigots. In the particular case you have strengthened the Communist aggressor's hand by indirectly questioning America's Attitude and Resolve. This will only increase the wounded.
I guess the course of our cure depends upon our sense of values. To me Freedom is worth any price I have to pay to keep it. If the South Vietnamese lose their freedom the killing and maiming will still continue. It will not be in the papers and the victims will not be treated. They will just die. From your personal psychic point of view this would seem to be best, but is it really best?
I too would like to see this war, in fact all wars, riots, murders, rapes, crimes, fights, quarrels, and misunderstandings end. I would like to see man truly begin to love his fellow man.
Good Luck, Doctor.
Sincerely,
John Timmons

Dear Dr. Helfant,
Thank God for your courage in sending an "Open Letter to the President."
Words cannot express my feelings as I read and looked at the "least grisly" (Sunday's paper) of the photographs.
I had to return some books to our local library on my lunch-hour last week, so while there I made a point of reading the LOOK article or letter. A co-worker had told me about it. I went back to work physically ill, weeping inside, haunted by it all. We all "know" to some degree that our men are wounded but until someone of your knowledge comes forth with pictures we are just a herd(?) of ostriches with our heads in the sand.
I wanted immediately to do something, anything, rush over there, become a nurse, joint the Red Cross, etc.
However, I'm one of the ones who wouldn't be able to "take it" either. I would just go to pieces. If I see a dead animal or bird in the road I'm done for, for hours.
I say to you - get those other photographs published somehow - pound your message home - sock it to everyone - especially those in Washington.
Yes, there are people making money out of this war - who don't want it to end, but they will get theirs and it won't be money eventually.
I say God will not be mocked, and it is a mockery of his life's plan to have these young men and boys torn up this way for something that none of us truly believes in.
Do not falter in your determination to speak out. It should transcend anything in your life because you "feel" and perhaps can do something.
Most sincerely,
Brigitte Schultz
p.s. Sunday's paper did not publish your address. I took a wild stab at the Boston phone book.

Dear Dr. Helfant,
I just finished reading your letter to the President in LOOK Magazine. I'm surprised the government let LOOK print it plus the pictures. The public at least now knows a fraction of the truth of the non-war.
I'm 21 and will be 22 in January. I'm not a draft-dodger or a resistor. I just don't want to be inducted into the services. I heard stories of what happened to human bodies in Vietnam but I never seen pictures. I'm overweight (1Y) and I'm --- in the draft-lottery. So I guess I'm safe. But now I feel a little ashamed of myself because guys my own age are dying and being injured in horrible ways. Some were drafted because they weren't overweight (which I ate and ate because I knew I could get out) or turned out --- on the lottery. Don't get me wrong. I'm not going to enlist now. I just had to tell you the truth I'm more scared now than before. I'm not a coward. But God I'm scared of war. Forgive the handwriting. It's late and I'm still shaking.
Yours truly,
William Timmons (unemployed)

Dear Dr. Helfant,
I should like to congratulate you on your article in the July 28th issue of LOOK Magazine. Although, as an Englishman, and as such a guest in this country and not privileged to have an opinion, I was deeply moved by your restrained comments. Such have long been known to the profession, but the ostrich attitude of the general populace has been effective in hiding these frankly unsavoury facts from many. The only thing you did not mention is the coarsening effect of the war on the minds of those who have seen the mayhem, but have not themselves been physically wounded. I have spoken, with horror, to some young naval people in this area, and their minds were full of Websterian images of decay, corruption, dirt and burials. They have seen their best friends blown to pieces by shells, mangled in booby traps , covered initially with dirt and mud, and then prettified "so that the people at home will never know this sordid reality."
The most optimistic feature is that there are still people like yourself, who can do their duty without the self-indulgent luxury of crying scorn, and then, without losing spiritual vision, return and state the facts without rancour. That is indeed maturity, and I am full of respect for your achievement.
Ever yours sincerely,
Nigel Trumbell
Research Fellow

Dear Sir,
The enclosed letter was to be copied by me in better handwriting, but inasmuch as I am seventy years old, my eyes won't take too much reading and writing, so will you excuse the poor handwriting and accept it as it is. I hope your letter will do some good, but I am afraid that nothing but a bomb dropped close besides some of these Anti-Communist fools will do any good and that dropped every ten minutes for six months. I would like to put L. Johnson, ex-President in there. I know that.
It's always the least brave that expect so much from the others. We have to learn to live with the Communists. Perhaps they have to live with us, what with the tiger cages and other things done in or near Saigon.
If some of these foolish people have had to live under the Russian Czars before the 1914 Revolution they would know it was as just as the American Revolution in America.
I lost my oldest boy in the war in 1942. Others served too.
Respectfully yours and thank you,
Regina Slater

The following letter (alluded to as "The enclosed letter") accompanied the previous:
Dear Sir,
I would like to write to you in detail and I may do some day. I am writing about the letter you sent to this President (Nixon) and the photos of our men and boys wounded and hurt so badly in Vietnam. I am an older woman and have one against this war since the start, and writing since 1964 to Johnson (the President), Secretary Rusk, and R. Nixon, etc. to take the line of Negotiators suggested by the World Powers and the Senator from Arkansas, Fulbright, and a few others. I am speaking of the letter as it was printed in the LOOK Magazine that you wrote, and the photos of wounded as you photographed them. I remember them in England in 1914 to 1918, as a girl about 16 years in the city of Xxxxxx - the men in the medium blue or light green flannel hospital suits with army hat - so many taking the air or walks in the long six or more feet basket beds with one man with a badly broken left arm walking at almost army pace - pushing the bed handle at the other side. In amongst the heavy pedestrian traffic from Xxxxxx Xxx Hospital - the long straight nicely side-walked Xxxxxxxxxx Rd, Xxxx Rd. - into the City and back.
This was not far from where my home lay, and we had to compete with them coming home from work for street-car room. (A little bit of fun I'm meaning in saying that - we girls would have walked ten miles home to let them have the street cars to get back to the Hospital on time.)
But usually there was room for a couple of dozen civilians, and the men would get up with their broken arms to let us sit down. I nearly had nervous prostration for fear they would smash them up again with the street-car crowded, and going at high speed. Perhaps they wouldn't have cared, as we didn't care much (what with raids and deaths and wounds of the men the realization that the --- -- were not competent) - who won the war. We realized from returned prisoners, German prisoners we saw by photo, etc. that we were all the same.
Thank you, sir,
Regina Slater

Dear Dr. Helfant,
Since you will not permit me to speak of my thoughts, I must write them.
Thank you! I guess for being what you are. Your commencement speech was marvelous. You spoke of basic real things that are happening now. Not of how wonderful new --- graduates are, or what the hospital is doing this year, etc. etc. (Which is the trend at the school).
Also I want to utter my gratitude, respect and admiration for what you have done and accomplished with your letter to Mr. Nixon.
So many speak of things that "should change" or "should be done" only in idle chatter - but do nothing of these "should be's".
It gives me chills to think of all the people you have reached with this masterpiece.
"And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart you live in your lips."
Dr. Helfant, this is what you have done!
Sincerely,
Lisa Stewart

Dear Sir,
I just finished reading a copy of your article in LOOK Magazine. I work with a room full of men, and all of them were interested in your article so copies were run off on the Xerox machine. I was the last to read your letter because they didn't think I should read something that shocking at this time. You see I'm five months pregnant, and today my husband has been at boot camp for two weeks.
After I finished reading, I couldn't get rid of the lump in my throat and I felt I had to write to you and ask a few questions. You seem to have absorbed so much in so little time. My heart goes out to you that you cannot escape from your memories.
After you wrote your letter, did you ever receive any reply from the president or any other official? Does Washington know that our boys are being slaughtered? Did you have any difficulty in printing your letter, or was there any type if censorship involved? Your pictures were more like something out of a Hollywood horror movie, rather than patients at a U.S. hospital in Japan.
Please understand that I want to try to do something to help, but I don't know where to go or who to ask for information. I can't help but feel tht what was hinted at but left unsaid in the article is more important than the words that did appear. Because of this I am interested in finding out how I could do something in a small way to end the war, or possible help those poor boys, excuse me, I mean men.
If you could ever find the time I would appreciate a reply. I know that's asking an awful lot, but I just had to write or react in some way.
Sincerely,
Dorothy Blye

Dear Bud,
With your permission I shall omit the suspense date, block style and paragraph numbers (cf. GR 17 450-100, supersedes 17 450-100, 118). Things have not changed down here since Black Jack Pershing readied his men for the Pancho Villa expedition, and nothing has changed since you were here.
I am wearing your uniforms proudly and doing my best "To Conserve the Fighting Strength." Seriously, I again thank you for the blues, greens and khakis. I hope the pants' seats do not wear out during my tour so that I may return them to you in good shape.
Your article circulated through --- platoon, X Company a few days ago. It was well-received and rightfully so. The letter to the Commander-in-Chief also ever so slightly moved the Middle West. My father commented: "Much more impressive than most of the half-baked demonstrations."
--- and I look forward to a chance to talk with you again.
Counting the days,
Jack Breckenridge, U.S. Army MC

Dear Dr. Helfant:
I am writing this letter with the express purpose in mind of thanking you for what I consider the most significant contribution to peace and sanity I have seen to date. Yet, somehow, I feel that thanks are not enough. I would like to help in any way possible to continue your great work. A "new consciousness" of the most pathetic victims of this non-war - the non-dead yet non-alive - seems to be emerging and your letter with its poignant insightful sensitivity has contributed incalculably to this.
If there is any way, Doctor, that you alone, or in conjunction with others who share your concern, can impress upon the public the true significance of the "daily wounded" reports, I feel this will truly change the Silent Majority's tolerance of the war. People must be made to see an impersonal statistic such as 1,200 wounded in terms of irreparable human damage. The emotional and psychological crippling of families, wives and boys and the devastation of the promise of a bright future for literally untold thousands of brave young men. The dead are buried once, Dr. Helfant, but the severely wounded and their families are condemned to die a little each day.
Please let us know if we can help you promulgate your painfully accumulated knowledge on this subject and possibly alleviate your horrible burden. Incidentally, Mrs. Hazel Thorpe, my employer is the lady who called you last Saturday evening also with reference to your article.
Sincerely,
Nora-Marie Williams

Dear Buddy,
I saw your article today in LOOK by chance. I've been reading and thinking about it since. It is awesome and horrifying and absolutely necessary. The nation should be thankful that someone in your profession would have the guts to make such a statement; and I hope for your sake writing it has exorcised some to the demons. (And I hope for the sake of all of us that not too many nuts come back at you with the regular nuttiness).
You have done an amazing job of making those maimed creatures in the photographs emerge as heroes. And such pictures often simply satisfy a morbid curiosity. Your accomplishment is largely due, I think, to the tone of the letter, which is intentionally ironic; but rage comes roaring through quite often, and so does a baffled note as of shattered innocence.
I am sorry that you had to suffer so - and I am aware that pity for the whole and reasonable must seem an awful extravagance after what you have seen.
Alicia is away visiting relatives, but I am sure she will share my feelings when she reads your letter. My best to your wife and children. Thank you.
Sincerely,
Gus Cantwell

Dear Buddy,
I'm writing to tell you how glad I am to have seen your recent article - I only hope it does some good. I consider it an honor and a privilege to be able to say I know you personally.
I hope you are happy in your work and that your family is well.
Sincerely yours,
Paul Cole

Dear Dr. Helfant,
Your letter affected me in a way that I cannot hope to describe. I had never been actively concerned about the war, although I have participated in many discussions held by my school's administration. I had, of course, read statistics or the death toll of the war, but they were too detached to affect me. I never realized the horrible suffering that has resulted from this "conflict". Perhaps I had thought of it, but had chosen to ignore it as so many people must also be doing now. I cannot believe that anyone could support any war knowing it cost so many men so much.
While reading your letter I thought of the parents, the brothers and sisters, the wives and girl-friends, and the children of these men. The agony which the injured must endure must also become a part of the lives of all these people. My brother is eighteen and a half, my boyfriend will be eighteen in October. I am terrified by the thought of them having to suffer for the rest of their lives as a result of so worthless a war. After reading your letter, the President of this country cannot fail to bring an end to this tragic waste. He hasn't the right to cause such devastating destruction of human beings. These men are not his to have broken, mangled and mutilated. They have not been raised, loved and cherished for nineteen years only to be sent away and be put through such anguish.
I feel so helpless against the unfeelingness that is exhibited by the prolongation of the war in Vietnam. I hope your letter has reached the President and that it has affected him as it affected me. I have never been moved to write to the President. If I could be sure my letter would reach him, I would now.
Please tell me how I can help put an end to the inhuman suffering you have witnessed.
Sincerely yours,
Mary Lisbeth Dearworth

Dear Dr. Helfant:
I am deeply impressed by your "Letter to the President." Publication of your letter reveals your courage and your commitment to a national reformation, the discontinuance of the ugly conflict in Vietnam and a national effort to effect a peaceful (or at least cease fire) settlement. If anyone can read your "letter" and not feel sorrow, anger and guilt, then, indeed, he does not deserve to be classified as human.
I hope your "letter" is read by people who understand your message, written with deep empathy. I hope it will inspire them to take thoughtful action against the tragedy inflicted on our American youth who have been sent to Vietnam. If your "letter" does not move the president and the readers to give thought and take action of behalf of the men who have been forced to give their lives and minds, then nothing will touch the people of the United States to stop the sacrifice of young life. Are there many carbon copies of your "letter?" It is worthy of distribution to all of the literate and to be read aloud to the illiterate.
It is reassuring that at least one surgeon has a commitment to his patients. Those who cannot thank you, would if they could. Those who can, will.
Sincerely,
Margaret Dearman
Associate Professor
Chairman, Public Health Nursing

PEACE FIRST PEACE NOW PEACE FOREVER PEACE
Dear Dr. Helfant:-
I have thought much about our conversation the other day, and much of what I would ask and suggest is somewhat tempered by a personal impression that I received in talking to you. It corresponds with the very tone of your "LOOK" article. It is a feeling that your own personal "war wounds" are sop deep that you would find it difficult to expose yourself to further battles before public audiences. (Yet if you would be willing to face an American Legion audience, you must have the courage of a thousand lions.)
Let me speak frankly and openly with you.
I have always felt that the most effective weapon that could be used in talking to the American people would have to do with the matter of the "cheapness" with which we hold the lives of our own children and the lives of the Vietnamese. For only a moment the My Lai situation shocked and touched us in a rather vulnerable spot. With the help of some of our leaders we managed somehow to sweep these ugly stories under the rug.
There is only one "thing" that cannot be swept under a rug, rationalized, or explained - it is the faces of the dead, the wounded, the dying, the anxious, the face fo fear, the fact of young men grown old after a month of combat. It is the "face of war" tht is missing in the fight to end it. It is the drama of the operating table, at the front, the hospitals for the incurables, the hundreds of pictures that have never been shown that must be shown.
I for one believe that we must end the war, now no matter what it costs our government in loss of face - and we must face if we are ever to regain our national "soul."
I once suggested that we go to the veterans' hospitals and take pictures there on Veterans Day, and publish them in the paper. "They" were afraid.
Every man must decide for himself what he can do in this critical moment. My own feeling is that if you and I value the life the young man who will die in Vietnam tomorrow, it can no longer be a question of what we can do, but what we must do. In many ways I sometimes wonder whether the nation is really worth saving as it is presently constituted, but I am certain of one thing that young soldier whom you knew so well, and all the women, children, and old men, and the young men too, across Vietnam should not be made to suffer and die.
I believe that you and your message must be told throughout the United States. Perhaps a few other physicians may come forward by your example and join you. I think that you can shorten the war, because no father or mother will be able to escape the conclusion that at this moment it is they who may be responsible for what you have shown them - it is their decision that another young man will appear in a hospital somewhere - perhaps their own son - and they could have prevented it. You and I owe it to these young men to stop the killing today, and only you and I can do it. We really can't rely on any one else.
By the way, the top of this letterhead is a quotation from Ramsey Clark's convocation address at the University of Chicago this June.
Finally, I think that you need not be tied to any organization, unless the AMA wishes to sponsor your trip. You would be Dr. Helfant talking to the American people about what you have seen and how you feel. Should you wish to do this, perhaps I can be of some help to you.
I cannot end this letter without telling you how grateful I am to you for your great courage in doing what you have done.
Peace, Peace, Peace,
Donald Ulmer

Dear Dr. Helfant,
By chance, I just read your beautiful letter in the July 28th issue of LOOK. While not envious of your experience in Japan, I feel your letter is one we all would be proud to have written. Unfortunately, pictures and words alone cannot express the long-term horrors of dealing with the severely brain-injured patient. Your letter should be part of the wallpaper of all the "hawks" in Washington.
With my personal thanks to you for a job well done, I am sincerely yours.
Estes Deane, M.D.
Chief, Neurosurgical Section
Veterans Administration Hospital
Xxxxx, Xxxx

Dear Dr. Helfant,
They say "one picture is worth a thousand words" but your pictures published in LOOK were indeed to the point. It is a pity the rest of your pictures were not printed. Perhaps if the men who "operate" this "non-war" were made to view each battered and torn body the despair and sorrow would reach them. When I look at these pictures and know my two sons could be in them in a few short years I become almost desperate at the thought and not knowing what to do. Do we mothers have to give our sons, our most precious possessions, to the government to be slaughtered? I don't want to give mine. They are all I have.
Your letter said everything that had to be said, but I doubt if any of it will reach these politicians the way it should. To them the war is a game; they never see the blood and broken bodies and minds as you have. It's like a game of chess, thousands of men's lives are determined by a move. One move was Cambodia. The President will never see the casualties as he sits in his air-conditioned office and waits for his hand maidens to tell him his strategy was brilliant.
You have done a commendable thing. Do whatever else you can to bring home to people that we are the ones that are crying, the parents with the young boys that will have to take part in this game. We are concerned for these young 20 year olders who don't even know why they are dying. What kind of a country is this when more value is put on the shape of a table than on a young boy's life?
I hope some day you'll print the rest of your pictures. War has to stop. The price of my sons is too high.
Perhaps in years to come when we can pre-determine the sex of our child women will prefer girls; that way we know we will be able to see them grow to full womanhood. What would the draft board do with a nation of girls? I'm sure many mothers would say "I love boys but give me a girl. I'll never have to see her go to war."
Sincerely,
Constance Dittmer

Dear Dr. Helfant:
I read your letter to the President. The facts it contained were not as shocking as hearing that four of my friends have been killed while participating in the war games in Vietnam - not to mention those who were "lucky" enough to return home wounded, disabled and unable to find meaningful employment.
I could tell you about a first lieutenant who after returning from Vietnam wounded has not been able to find steady employment. What in the hell was he fighting for? God? Country? Freedom? To stop communism? Or just what?
I share with you the feeling that something must be done to stop the willful disregard for human life in Vietnam. The "leaders" of this country must be made to see that what is happening in Vietnam is wrong and is costing men, young men, far too much. To give a life or limb for a just cause can indeed be meaningful to the giver, but to lose a life or a limb fighting in a "war" that Congress has not seen fit to declare a war leaves something to be desired.
You are congratulated for the courage exhibited in bringing the morbid side of the Vietnam War to the attention of the Commander-in-Chief. It's too bad that nothing will be done to correct this dreadful matter immediately!
Sincerely yours,
Lewis Breed
Second Lieutenant, TC

Dear Dr. Helfant,
It's a sunny warm Saturday afternoon, and I was casually glancing through the newspapers to catch up on my reading and read the article in Thursday's July 23 paper, then quickly fished out the July issue of LOOK and read your letter to the President. Needless to say I was deeply impressed and even I, being a nurse, was shocked to tears by the pictures. Just knowing you the little I did before you went to Japan, I feel such empathy toward you. It was like talking to you through the med closet window. May I commend you for speaking your piece so loudly in so direct a channel. As you at first, I had no great feelings about Vietnam. Why does it have to be? Your horror awake at nights is probably tripled or more so in the hearts and minds of those who survive this war and the parents of those who don't. Thank you for being a man and resigning, letting the President know these things, but mostly for being there while you were to help those you could. I'll pray for your peace and work at home and continue to pray for the war's end.
Sincerely,
Brenda Wallace
Former Med Nurse, 5th Floor
p.s. Please excuse this writing for I was emotionally stirred at the time.

Dear Dr, Helfant,
Thank you for your wonderful article in LOOK magazine. I forced myself to read it and to really look at the pictures. The appalling and senseless cruelty of war is beyond my understanding - especially since it involves our youngest and healthiest men. If we sent our old (like me), our incurables, our insane it would still be cruel but not as horrible or senseless as this.
I will not belabor you with personal thoughts - but only want to commend you for your bravery in "speaking out." You will have outcries enough from the "patriots."
My own recommendation has always been to send one old senator and two old Reps from the government with every 500 men to the firing line. Why not?
Peace! Good luck and keep writing.
Sincerely,
Lillian White

Dear Dr. Helfant,
I don't expect you to remember, nor answer me - but I would like to tell you that while I was working in this rinky-dink (pardon the expression!) xxxx ward of mine - I happened to pick up the LOOK magazine and literally went nuts! You wrote a moving letter, and I'm proud to say I've known you! I've passed it around - and although not everyone can feel what you feel - that letter packs quite a wallop. Congratulations from a little graduate nurse (who' shaking in her white shoes until Boards are over in August!)
Sincerely, your friend,
Donna Uhlenbeck
p.s. Send, or rather, give my regards or, shall I say "salutations" to the girls.
Thank you

Dear Dr. Helfant,
We were deeply moved by your letter to the President in LOOK magazine. It is the most urgent plea for peace that we have ever read.
We have taken the liberty of sending copies to President Nixon (again), Vice-President Agnew, Senators Kennedy and Brooke, Representatives Heckler and Governor Francis Sargent.
We can only wish you forgetfulness that sometimes comes with time and peace for you, your family and all of us.
Sincerely,
Rosanna Vogel
Reference Librarian
Bill Werner
Asst. Cataloguer
Phyllis Dimond
Library Asst.

Dear Bud:
While waiting in the VW garage for our bus to be repaired, I opened the latest issue of LOOK. Imagine the pleasant surprise to see the name and face of an old friend. The last time I saw you was the week before Pam was born and you'd just returned to school with your bride. I brought the issue so I could read it to Jim, but he had already red it on a plane coming home from Washington.
Thank you for writing the Letter. It came with extra impact for we'd just seen the movie MASH. However, there was no humor in what you said. I've become sick of seeing young boys' faces on TV news as the soldiers in Vietnam and as our own son, Tommy, gets older (he'll be 13 in Sept.). I get more and more alarmed about the uselessness and ridiculousness of the war. I feel that this is a totally worthless war in which we should never have become involved and the sooner we pull out the better. Honorable settlement be damned. If I were the mother of a young man killed or maimed in this war I should grow to be a very bitter old woman, for no one, mother or son, should be asked to give so much for nothing.
Your pictures were horrible and have moved me to sit down and once again write to our Southern conservative congressmen to protest the war in Vietnam. What else can we do? Both Jim and I feel frustrated and helpless.
If you are an occasional camper try the South Carolina coast sometime. The south is not always as grim as the news media leads you to believe. Jack finished his PhD and is a lecturer for the University of Georgia. I am not a nurse anymore; not here anyway as I ran into instances where medicine was practiced according to color and I live surrounded by great beauty. We seem to have found our niche. Yes, I finally woke up and realized that the great mid-west did not held all the answers!
Again, thank you for writing the Letter. I admire your courage for writing it and hope it will do some good.
Best regards,
Betsy Weill

Dear Doctor Helfant:
I cannot adequately express my thanks for the service you have done America by having published "A Letter to the President" that appeared in the July 28 issue of LOOK.
I almost missed your article, which moved me deeply, because when I saw the cover, featuring a photograph and story on Princess Anne of England I was not interested in looking beyond the cover. It was my husband who brought the magazine home.
Your letter should have been the cover story. I wonder how many other people will miss it as I almost did. Certainly the subject of our men on the battlefields of Vietnam is closer to the hearts and minds of Americans than is Princess Anne.
I have written to my Congressman and to the President imploring an end to the operations in Vietnam and referring them to your published letter.
Sincerely yours,
Hannah Breecher

Dear Dr. Helfant:
It would be difficult to in any way adequately express my feelings upon listening to the radio interview given you over WHDH and after reading the fragments of your long letter to President Nixon - sent with accompanying photos of the shattered young men who were among the Vietnam War patients under the care of you and your colleagues in Japan.
Indeed, your letter and its devastating message to the world - so quietly, deeply and tellingly told - is a monument in you own time to your all-consuming concern as a true humanitarian.
You are so richly endowed with your gifts as a doctor-surgeon - gifts matched by your great capacity for compassion - all of which give life to your deep convictions - so honestly and courageously expressed in your letter to President Nixon and the world.
War - and all its attendant horrors are not unknown to me.
I (and surely countless thousands) await for response from the President re: your illuminating letter.
Thank you, Oh! Thank you.
From
Florence Black

Dear Bud,
Judy and I were very enlightened by your article "A letter to the President". We know it must of taken a great deal of your time to do it and hope it will do some good.
Thanking of you,
Herb Duval

Dear Dr. Helfant,
Remember me? - Miss Schier, ARC, 249th, etc. etc.
I took your advice, gave up that nasty boyfriend, and turned into a happier person almost immediately. And then a funny thing happened on my way to San Francisco where I had a roommate and apartment waiting - I met THE MAN right here in San Francisco, California! He's great and we were married in May.
But please forgive the long introduction. I'm writing because of your recent article in LOOK that I happened to run across. I just wanted to thank you for writing it. It was well written and I'm sure long hours went into its preparation. Your frustration and horror that this waste of young lives is allowed to continue for absolutely nonexistent reasons (as were the reasons for the initial involvement) is shared.
Unfortunately the people who can really do something seem rather unconcerned about the casualty rate - as long as it seems to stay at a respectable "low" level. Can the President truly believe himself when he has the nerve to tell millions of Americans (many who do believe him) that these valiant young men are dying and being wounded for the cause of "freedom" and "democracy?"
I wasn't involved with the frustrating aspects of being unable to medically help someone. I know this was fortunate for my own peace of mind. However, the experience of working with such very young men whom I knew would never lead happy, normal lives (for such lousy reasons) has etched itself somewhere inside me.
I don't envy you your memories. I hope your article will make some people really for the first time stop and truly think about what is happening to kids that are sent over there. Perhaps those pictures, if nothing else, will make someone stop waving the flag for a minute or two and think rationally about that corrupt dictatorial Thieu-Ky government we have put in power and we support with American lives.
Well, I guess I've soapboxed long enough. I just want you to know how grateful I am that someone was able to write about those daily war atrocities that our government seem to condone, Hopefully, hopefully, hopefully (but probably doubtfully) your article will be a little help to end this terrible nightmare in American history.
Give my best to your wife and children. I remember well our fun evening (with Jason Cox) at the Spanish restaurant and our amazement upon learning that the dancers were men! My very best to you too.
Most Sincerely
Beverly Schier
p.s. Also your kind words about the Red Cross at the 249th were very much appreciated.

Dear Dr. Helfant,
My name is Gretchen Olsen. I am a high school student and will study to be a nurse after my graduation.
I read your letter to the President in LOOK Magazine. You might say I enjoyed reading it. Not because I enjoy hearing about suffering people but because I enjoy reading about concerned, down-to-earth people.
I have been interested in the 249th General Hospital for some time now, but no one seems to know anything about it. Can you please help me? I want to know about the hospital in general, and also about how you can apply to work there. Are they really that short of nurses and doctors? How are the hospital conditions? What kind of equipment is available? Do you have to be in the army to work there?
I hope you can help me. I know that you don't know me, but I really do have a good cause in mind.
Thank you,
Gretchen Olsen

Dear Dr. Helfant,
Regarding your letter to the President - what can I do to help?
Sincerely,
Denise Osborne, R.N.

Dear Sir,
Let me first introduce myself. I am Marcia Gillis, a teenager interested in what happens to the soldiers overseas.
I read the letter you wrote to the President. It was published in the July 28, 1970 edition of LOOK Magazine. I couldn't help but feel let down, so I wrote to LOOK and asked for your address. I received a letter today and I was told that I couldn't have your private address but to address my letter to LOOK and they would forward it for me.
After reading that letter I felt terrible. I am going into nursing when I graduate from high school that is in two years. I had thought about going overseas and after reading that letter I have a more definite decision. I would like to go overseas and spend my time with soldiers who really need help.
Is there any possible chance that I may write to the soldiers or send them something to help them along? I'm writing to two boys in Vietnam now and would love to write to any soldier who is lonely. Would you be able to send me any information, pictures, etc. about the hospital in which you worked?
I would appreciate any information you could possible send me.
Well, I guess I've said everything I wanted to tell you. Thank you for making me aware of our boys overseas.
Yours truly,
Marcia Gillis

Dear Dr. Helfant,
When I was a young girl (and even now that I am an adult) I couldn't tolerate watching war movies - - the real scars and human devastation and the pain in being hurt were never really shown. I felt boys grew up thinking that war is all bravery, courage and excitement; I felt boys saw themselves as the hero who was never hurt and who never died.
Perhaps films shouldn't be too real, but our men deserve an honest picture of the price of war they may have to pay if they enter the military. Now, through articles such as yours, our husbands, fathers and sons have the opportunity to see the whole picture of what war means. They can decide if the cost of the "Cause" and the procedure of the war to win the Cause are worth what they and the families involved might suffer.
In the Vietnam War, I agree with you -- our finest men are giving too much for something not worthy of them. South Vietnam needs help, but not our lives.
Thank you for having the courage to write this article and I hope that President Nixon will remember the high cost of political (or any) wars to those who patriotically serve as well as those who refuse to serve and split our country philosophically.
Sincerely,
Anne Cooper

Dear Dr. Helfant,
With blurring vision and bleeding heart - I read your open letter to the President. With some hope - I ask - will someone really listen and hear what you are saying?
Blessings on you for writing your letter and LOOK Magazine for publishing it.
Christina Gardiner

Dear Murray H. Helfant:
I read your letter to the President. I wanted to write to you so that you would know I read it. What can I write to you? All I can do is do what you have done, write, to all anyone who can stop or do something that will end this war and never again happen. Write, write, write that's what everyone should do. It's all we can do. I wish with all my heart that I could do more. I have three boys. God help me.
Yours very truly,
Esther Zacharias
p.s.. Thank you

Dear Dr. Helfant,
The letter you wrote to President Nixon, which was published in the July 28th issue of LOOK Magazine, is the strongest and most disturbing statement concerning the war in Vietnam that I have ever read or seen. Nothing has had as much impact as your letter. It brings some of the very real horror of the war home to us. It is one thing to be against the war, to demonstrate, to contribute money to oppose it, and quite another to feel physically sick about it.
I was pleased and shocked that LOOK Magazine would publish your letter. That is encouraging.
My husband, who is a member of the BEM (Business Executives Move for Vietnam Peace), told me that you will be a guest at a dinner they are giving this fall., If so I hope that we will be able to meet you.
One of the most impressive things about the letter you wrote was the rage it expressed. I hope that you will continue to make such statement sand that you won't forget what you have seen but will continue to get other people to see these things.
Sincerely,
Jeanne Donovan

Dear Bud,
I can't say I enjoyed the article you wrote since it wasn't meant to be enjoyed - but it was superb - an excellent statement of the waste. I could hear you talking - most people don't have the ability to make written expression of their thoughts sound like them - I don't, I know - but if someone had handed me the article and asked me who wrote it, I could have answered with no hesitation. Gary was quite impressed also. What will the book be about? If it will be an expansion of the same sort of material I wonder if you could get hold of some "before" shots - like high school annual pictures - to help impress the layman with the fact that these really were "boys next door" before they were needlessly mutilated. Maybe that's a silly suggestion - only thing I thought of though - wonder if Nixon ever saw it before it was published. I imagine his mail is pretty well screened. My baby-sitter was very excited - she actually met someone who wrote an article in LOOK - now we have to get the next issue to read the Letters. Will they forward all the comments they get to you? It would be interesting to see the reactions.
Love,
Sarah Garfield

Dear Dr. Helfant,
Thank you for your courage. It is appreciated.
Frederick Mathewson

Dear, dear Murray Helfant,
These words cannot express what I feel.
I have just experienced your heart through words and photographs. I have just read your article that appeared in LOOK.
I feel a sadness, a blue teardrop that my heart gave to humanity.
I haven't the words for what love is, what caring is, but here is something from a now warm hand.
Bless you, bless you, this is for caring.
Edith Young

Dear Dr. Helfant,
I read with interest and, of course, dismay your letter to President Nixon that appeared in the July 28th issue of LOOK. I have long been an active opponent of the Vietnam War and militarism in general and your letter could only serve to reinforce my convictions on these matters.
At present I am finishing a doctorate in philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York (though as you will note I live in Belmont, Mass.) and am writing a thesis entitled "Ethical Ambiguity and Political Violence." It seems to me it would be helpful in my work if I could meet you and talk with you about various matters. I note your letter was written from Boston and I wonder whether you live in this area. I would also be able to meet you in New York as I often visit there.
Perhaps it is of relevance to mention that I have worked with the Committee of Responsibility and am a friend of Dr. Bruce Gillette, the head of that group.
Yours sincerely,
Victoria Harris

Dear Major Helfant,
This letter may go unnoticed in the flow of praising mail that you undoubtedly received and are receiving following your outstanding and moving "Letter to the President" published in the July 28th LOOK.
Millions of people - in fact the whole nation - should be grateful to you for submitting such an enlightening, well-written, first-hand report.
It takes courage, a clear mind and above all, a deeply human heart to act the way you did and such an article can only be written by a truly great man.
As you put it you owed it to all those men who either died or, thanks to your care, pulled through and kept on "living." It was indeed your duty to them, to your country. I am convinced such a letter was never addressed (and how regretful that is!) to the President.
Such a piece of valuable information brought to light should - and I hope it will- make those who can do something about it think and hopefully stop the war.
Congratulations and heartfelt thanks for telling it like it is!
Most respectfully yours,
Lucy Greystoke
p.s. To conclude, may I only wish that those indelible pictures blur and fade from your memory to allow you the peace of min and serenity you deserve. I know it is asking a lot but try to concentrate of the "Lane of Peace" which you have opened...

Dear Dr. Helfant,
As one who has been trying to mobilize anti-war activities among his fellow professionals I can only image the sort of letters you have been receiving in response to your open letter to Mr. Nixon. My own opinion is that it was one of the finest and most powerfully relevant documents of its kind.
I have, to be quite honest, an ulterior motive in writing to you. I teach anatomy (as a matter of fact, mostly neuroanatomy) in the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology at Xxxxxx. It happens that I am scheduled to chair a special session at the Annual convention of the American Speech and Hearing Association in New York City this November. The session is entitled "The war and social-moral-political involvement within the profession," and one of its major purposes is to force a relatively uninvolved (and conservative) membership to an awareness the fact the Vietnam is a matter of grave concern to the speech and hearing rehabilitation specialist. Among others, we will try to emphasize the same point that you did, i.e. that CNS and maxillofacial destruction is one major result of (or should it be generated by?) our tragic involvement in Southeast Asia. Maxillofacial and CNS trauma are out business too. But, like most people, our members can blot the ugly out of their collective mind. As part of our convention program we hope to present audiovisual reminders of the mutilation which this "non-war" has produced; to present the repellent facts; to force our complacent colleagues to take a stand against such waster of human life.
Therefore, if possible, we would like to make use of any photographs similar to those that appeared in LOOK that you might be able to provide. We require slides, but we will make them from prints if that is what is available. Should you have transparencies we will bear the expense of reproducing them. The materials will be used with a professional audience; we are not intending to provide a sensational display for the layman. But our members need a jolt back to reality, away from the rhetoric of the Pentagon. Your photos are, I think, "just what the doctor ordered."
While I am, of course, hopeful that you will decide to lend us your support I appreciate your consideration in any case. Congratulations again on your letter.
Peace,
Chesley Elman
Assistant Professor

Dear Sir,
I am a senior girl in high school and I need some help.
I was looking through the July 28, 1970 issue of LOOK Magazine and came across your article "A Letter to the President." I must say I have never been so moved by an article. Maybe it was the pictures but whatever it was it got through to me. Therefore I have decided to do some research on the subject.
In my psychology class we are required to do a project and mine is going to be on the psychological effects of losing a limb or sight or any other essential part of our anatomy. I can only imagine the suffering that these men go through and I know that maybe my project will not help these men directly but I would like to make more people aware the situation. Although my project will play a small part in fighting this war my plans for the future are to graduate from nursing school and join one off the services where I will be able to help more directly.
You therefore, Dr. Helfant, can help me in this way. I know it is impossible for you to come and speak to my class so I'll have to settle for the next best thing. I would like to know anything and everything about these men that you can tell me. I realize that is asking a lot from you and if you feel that this is not worth your time please do not hesitate to disregard my letter. However, I feel you must be interested or you wouldn't have taken the time to write your "letter." I really appreciate your time and help and I assure you that it won't be wasted because I think it is about time that some people started waking up to the facts!
I think you know better than I what information will be of most benefit so I will leave that up to you. I cannot tell you how much it will mean to me and maybe other people too. I thank you sincerely,
Very truly yours,
Tina Fowler

Dear Doctor Helfant,
Your "Letter to the President" has vividly depicted the tragedy of seriously war-damaged. In some communities traffic violators are forced to watch motion pictures showing accident victims. Perhaps we should expose war-lovers to the mutilated existing (not living) in back wards of VA hospitals and custodial care units. More voices must be raised and more "horror" military hospital pictures must be shown to overcome our apparent tolerance and indifference to violence and war far away. Thank you for having the courage to speak up.
Alfred Kelleher

Dear Major Helfant:
I read your letter in LOOK Magazine. It was a letter to the President. I'm thirteen years of age and have for the last year or so wanted to be a nurse in surgery. There are two reasons, the main reason is to help other people, the other is I'm interested in the human body. I think it is the most wonderful thing for you and other men going over there and helping these men. And I'm sure they (the patients) are most grateful to you. I was very impressed with your letter. I seemed to stop and look at the pictures forever, especially the one where the leg is amputated. I have read the letter more than once, because I found it so interesting. I also found some things I missed the time before. What I'm really asking you is if could write and send me some more pictures, if this is at all possible. I don't want to force you, but I'm really really interested in this kind of stuff. I'll say it again I think it is the most wonderful thing you could do. I can hardly express my feelings, but I think you understand.
Thank you for taking time to read my letter.
Yours,
Lisa Hanks
p.s. In one of my classes we (our class) are studying first aid. This will be very helpful in the near future.

Dear Dr. Helfant,
I read with marked appreciation your recent letter to the President. Perhaps appropriately, I read the article while in Vietnam where I served as a Medical Service Corps officer assigned to an infantry battalion of the Americal Division. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that our battalion "generated" a number of the casualties about whom you were writing, since the 249th General Hospital was a frequent layover point for many of those who suddenly found their tours, and in many cases, their life-expectancies shortened.
It would be no great distinction, in this age of dissent, to proclaim my opposition to United States involvement in the Republic of Vietnam or her neighboring countries. Indeed, dissent and "causes" of one type or another are enjoying unparalleled popularity. Unfortunately popularity is sometimes quite costly -- it often obscures or is a detriment to the cause to which the movements are dedicated. But a discussion of the relative merits of cultural fads is not the purpose of this letter.
The point I wish to make is that my attitudes have changed somewhat as a result of my personal involvement in the war, though certainly not in the direction of approval. Prior to my assignment in Vietnam my opposition to the war was primarily predicated upon a loose collection of attitudes and impressions I had gained, unsystematically, from ingesting public information. It was not especially difficult to toy, in relative isolation, with abstract principles, opinion, and obscure facts. It was more difficult, however, to become wholly committed to a stand derived from abstraction. A year in Vietnam transformed abstractions into reality. Here, I think, is the major contribution made by your article. It is one thing to be familiar with casualty figures; it is yet another thing to grasp their full meaning and significance. Death in abstraction is not so bad. In this light it can be thought of as a sporting event, the score or numbers representing the final outcome -- "killing by the numbers kills no one in particular." It's O.K. as long as we score more than the opposing team. It's entirely too easy to fail to realize that each digit in a casualty figure represents a human being -- a living, breathing, thinking, feeling creature whose life may have been tragically altered or abruptly terminated by another human being who wore a different uniform. While in Vietnam four of my men were killed. I knew them. I wonder if they knew for what they were dying and if they would feel proud to know that they gave their lives so that President Nixon could continue saying that America has never lost a war. I wonder about the others too -- those who went home with something less that that with which they started.
We who experience at some level the realities of this war, we who have seen the waste, the pain, the utter futility, perhaps have an obligation to impart to others the realities of our experiences. I applaud your efforts in this area and encourage you to continue. As I am now personally committed in opposition to the war, I would be most interested in participating in any constructive, responsible activities whose end it is to bring about our disengagement. Any information or suggestions you may care to impart would be most appreciated.
With best regards,
Edward Laird

Dear Bud -
A few days ago as Tony was waiting to see a doctor he read a July issue of LOOK and recalled your name as the only one to send him a follow-up while in Vietnam. He brought the article home to show me. I've just finished reading it and feel the familiar ache in my jaw. Tho' the crying out I prevent thereby is not for the wounded you describe - more it's you, and Tony, and remembering the terrible bitterness and horror and the never getting well. The rest I know, have seen and heard and somewhat felt but reading that with your name on it I can't get beyond you, and so much pain.
It's a bit difficult to go on with - new paragraph - news of the day - but it is as follows.
We live twenty miles from Xxxx, where Tony has a fellowship with the transplant service at the medical school. I'm teaching English at a college nearby. We're living in an old two-room house (old - as in heat being a Franklin stove) with a beautiful view of Mt. Hood, Rainier, St. Helen's and Adams. We keep two horses and other beasts on our twelve acre hilltop. We've just fixed up a rented cabin at the base of Mt. Hood - since after the year before last in Colorado we are hooked on skiing. We'll probably move again when Tony's fellowship is over in September - but haven't made any plans as to where. We still have a feeling Maine is home, tho' it's beautiful here.
Perhaps the difference in the two parts of this letter is an indication of a reaction to Tony's years in the army.
I really don't know you anyway, but today I think I do, or did once. If not - still - I admire your courage in writing that - very much.
Marita Russo

Dear Murray,
I've been meaning and meaning to write - but, of course, haven't. I read your article in LOOK - and if I had the prestige would have endorsed it. Thanks so much for writing words so well. I hope by now you have been able to satisfy those frustrated feelings and rectify the hurt - in some way.
Was discharged from our Uncle's service in Sept. (15th) and spent a month of so traveling. Landed home in order to earn some money before traveling again. Am presently in respiratory intensive care - mostly because they have no neuro in Xxxx.
Gosh, how I love our field - and am anxious to get back to it.
The man I work for (Dr. Brian O'Sullivan) is so much like you that I call him "Murray" just for the heck of it. Dry sense of humor - and sarcasm - coupled with obvious sensitivity.
Hope all is well with your wife and children. I'd like to stop in to see you and your hospital some time in future,
Be happy.
Shirley Pfeiffer
p.s. Bernice is on her way back from the Army and RVN - and has suggested we start our own hospital. Have you any opening thereabouts for neurosurgical nurses?

We were all going to write that letter when we got home, but only you did. Everyone I've talked to all agree 100%, but none of us could have been so eloquent. You got an audience and I'm sure are responsible for the oh so small changes. Let's hope the changes mushroom in '71 so there is no need for a 249th or another war victim.
We were in Boston and wanted to call to pay respects but everything happened quickly and called no one. Had talked to Lewis before the meeting and did get to have dinner with him. Next time we will at least call to say Hi, and if you come this way don't pull a "no time to visit.".
Hi to all and keep in touch.
Lenny Holland


 



 

 





 



















 

 

 







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