Little Known Vietnam Veteran's Books Honor Fallen Heroes & Connect Families To Unknown History
Veterans Day Special Human Interest Feature: Ray Bows has worked for three decades to keep the memories alive of Fallen Vietnam Heroes. His book "In Honor and Memory" gives historical perspective to one family weeks before Veterans Day is celebrated.
By: Bows Military Books
LITTLE KNOWN VIETNAM VETERAN'S BOOKS HONOR FALLEN HEROES & CONNECT FAMILIES TO UNKNOWN HISTORY
Just weeks before Veterans Day, Retired MSGT Ray Bows'
"In Honor and Memory" inspires family.
For nearly three decades Ray Bows and his wife Pia have been researching the history of installations in Vietnam that were named after fallen Vietnam War heroes.
"It's been my life passion because it's important that we not forget the sacrifice of those fallen soldiers," said Ray Bows. "The soldiers who fought in Vietnam suffered on the battlefield and they suffered when they came home because they were not honored for answering their country's call to duty. The sacrifices of the fallen Vietnam heroes are even that more significant;
Bows' memorialization project that began in 1987 is a self-funded project. He does not solicit donations nor authorizes anyone to do so on behalf of the project. The purchases of Bows' books from his website or book signings are an investment for future publications and enable continued research.
"Ray Bows' work is very important to my family and the thousands of military families like ours and too many of them don't even know about his books. With our mother dying six years to the day of our father's death in Vietnam, my siblings and I had little knowledge of our father's impact in Vietnam," said Jackie Wright. "As children and most of our adult lives, we did not know about the 'Shannon Wright Compound' in Vinh Long, Vietnam. So, it is a treasure to know that someone chronicled the history and that knowledge will now be available for generations to come."
Wright, who grew up near Fort Benning, GA, and is now based in the San Francisco Bay Area, first found out about the work of Ray Bows from veteran Steven Elliott of Jacksonville, Florida, also the home of Sp5 Wyley Wright Jr. Elliott had found out how to contact her from the Internet stories concerning the reburial of Sp5 Wyley Wright Jr. and his wife Ouida F. McClendon Wright at Arlington National Cemetery during the 50th and 44th anniversaries of their death (See story link: http://sfbayview.com/
"Did you know that Ray Bows wrote a book that includes information about the 'Shannon Wright Compound'?" queried Elliott. "I promised Ray I'd help him find a picture of your dad and I was finally able to from the photo you posted on the Internet," added Elliott. "For years, I searched schools, libraries and found nothing. Thank you for posting the photo and helping me keep my promise to a fellow veteran."
The photo Elliott referenced, and that is included in the 800-page "In Honor and Memory - Installations and Facilities of the Vietnam War," was hand-painted by Vietnamese photographer Quang Van Phat. It was the last anniversary present that Sp5 Wyley Wright Jr. signed to "Ouida, the love of my life." After going to Vietnam in June 2015 to find the "Shannon Wright Compound," it is also the photograph that sisters Jackie Wright and Phyllis Wright Cameron shared with the family of artist Quang who died in 1999. See the link of finding the "Shannon Wright Compound" https://www.youtube.com/
Growing up, the Wright siblings, Jackie, Joe, Stanley and Phyllis, had no idea that their father was honored by the "Shannon Wright Compound" installation. Just finding out about the honor a few years ago, Bows' book gave them more clarification about the naming of the installation than they had. Given the times, the sixties, it was indeed an honor for a Black man to be named along with a white officer in recognition of their dedication.
In addition to "In Honor and Memory," Bows' book "Vietnam Military Lore: Legend, Shadows and Heroes," which is presently out of print, gave more background about Lt. Kenneth A. Shannon and Sp5 Wyley Wright Jr. In phone conversations just weeks before Veterans Day is celebrated, Bows shared with Wright his experience connecting with families such as the Shannon's that he spoke with years ago and his gratitude to finally connect with the family of Sp5 Wyley Wright Jr. He is looking forward to speaking to as many families as possible.
In the case of the Wright Family, they are consoled to know that the two families connected with them by the Vietnam War, the Shannons of Lynchburg, VA and the family of PFC John Francis Shea of Willimantic, CT, can see that their loved ones are recognized for their valiant service. PFC John Francis Shea died in the March 9, 1964 helicopter crash with Sp5 Wyley Wright Jr. They had both volunteered to serve as honor guards for then Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara who was viewing the troops that were "Military Advisors" at that time in the Vietnam War.
"Bows' work should be in every military base library and in as many places as possible," said Wright. "It's an inspiration for thousands of families and for past and current soldiers to know that someone cares that much. If a compilation of installations named in honor of soldiers that have died in wars since the Vietnam War has not been written, hopefully Bows' work will inspire someone to do so."
Bows' work can be found at http://www.bowsmilitarybooks.com/
Contact Ray Bows:
Cell Phone: 386 566 2089
P.O. Box 1865
New Smyrna, Florida 32170
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Posted Courtesy of Wright Enterprises - Contact Jackie Wright, 415 525 0410