In December of this past year, Morgan County resident and award-winning author Lisa Worthy Smith had an encounter that she unapologetically calls “divine,” and which gave her chill bumps. She met Don and Heather Collins, who had undertaken the task of finding the graves of 23 Morgan County men who died in Vietnam. They had also dedicated themselves to making sure that these brave, fallen ones received the honor they were due, even if it has been a half-century in coming. Don said the following to Lisa, and she knew right away that this book had to be her next project.
“ All these men and women pledged allegiance to serve under the US flag, fought under the US flag, and some came home in coffins draped with the US flag. They deserve to have a US flag flying over their final resting place.”
As I interviewed Lisa via Zoom, I had to take several minutes to regain my composure when she conveyed Don’s words to me. The gravity of the above statement for me was great, especially when you consider that 50 years ago, I was someone who had been seduced by socialism and thought of soldiers as “baby killers.” There are no words to describe the redemptive honor I feel at being able to commend Lisa’s work to our readers, and my fond hope is that you will devour this book. It is life-changing, and I don’t use that word lightly.
The sad truth is that in the early days of the War in Vietnam, those who had been killed in action came home to a nation which both revered them and buried them with full military honors. As time went on and our nation reeled under the singular oppression which comes from abandoning God (and putting a man, whether it was Castro, Mao, or Ho Chi Minh in His place), honoring the casualties of war eventually became passé and even inappropriate.
Lisa painstakingly dived deeply into the “facts of the matter” as to the cause of the craziness that was unique to the era. She has ten full pages of end notes that document the role of the media in convincing our culture to buy into a giant lie; the result being that the fabric of that culture came perilously close to unraveling completely and irreparably. We were brought to the brink, and if we are not careful, we could get there again without a whole lot of effort.
What Lisa came to realize as a result of her research is that Hitler took a position in the hearts of Germans that rightfully belongs to God alone, and as “der Führer” he saw himself as “the leader” or “the guide” (as his name means), who alone would get Germany where they needed to go. The Kims of North Korea traditionally get referred to as “the Dear Leader,” Ho Chi Minh means, “He who enlightens,” Mao means, “true center,” and what they all have in common is that untold millions died under their “leadership.”
Lisa shows inarguably that socialism was and still is a real global threat; that China would have taken Vietnam; and speaking anecdotedly I personally know a Vietnam vet who, when he was in the infantry, found caches of weapons that sported either the Chinese or Russian red star. The often-mocked “domino theory” was in fact nothing to joke about, and to this day the people of Vietnam are grateful that we wanted to help them while we protected ourselves.
CBS legend Walter Cronkite falsely reported on the war while he was in theatre, and his “fake news” caused us to lose our resolve. His reporting convinced LBJ that the war was lost, and the result was the drawdown that ultimately doomed Saigon. What became apparent was that the cost of freedom was too high in the minds of Americans, especially the youth. Unlike their parents, they had never faced down a Depression or a despot, and had no skin in the game when it came to preserving true liberty. Yet, they insisted on the benefits of freedom continuing uninterrupted, and now we face nearly unbridled entitlement nearly everywhere we turn.
Is there good news in all of this? Yes! We can’t go back and change what happened or how we got deceived, but we can honor the fallen and educate anyone who is willing to get to the bottom of what happened and learn from it. And everything you need to start that process is contained in this gem of a book entitled Unsung Heroes, by Lisa Worthey Smith. Get yours today, and let the healing begin.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner