Civilian Perspective, American War in Vietnam, II Corps, South Vietnam,
My story draws from a well of personal journals written during my time
in war as a civilian. Journaling is a habit I started in Catholic seminary and
unwittingly gives witness to my story.
What is written herein is a series of essays that interweaves a tapestry
of memories that crisscross my time in South Vietnam from 1967 to 1969.
The “American War,” as the Vietnamese have named it.
JanStephen James Cavanaugh, Ph.D. was born in Canada to a large, very religious family. His dream of the priesthood led him to the US, but, after being turned away from this role by the Catholic Church, he turned his attention to volunteering and found himself stationed in South Vietnam, right in the middle of the Vietnam War. After experiencing the hell of war first-hand as a civilian, Jan returned to the states, and went on to become a professor, psychologist, global business consultant, and surprisingly, a Class A licensed big rig driver. With a Ph.D. in Human Development from Penn State, Cavanaugh has dedicated his life to a deep study of the human psyche with the mission of facilitating ways to encourage the healthy growth of our collective bodies, minds, and souls.
In answer to the why now that I finished writing my story. I see the story more clearly.
It is a coming-of-age story of a very young man working in a foreign land in civil war. Walk with him and feel your way.
I wonder now I survived to tell the tale of the horrors of civilians in war ... that we might see more clearly ourselves in the mirror.
A Bloodied Tapestry
I know that the writing of this story is more about my needing to tell it, and I’m not sure why. In truth, I do hope the story will create a sympathetic view of “the enemy,” which most often starts from within.