Journalist Nancy E. Lynch, author of the award-winning social history “Vietnam Mailbag, Voices From the War: 1968-1972,” and Vietnam War veteran Rick Lovekin join forces for a multi-media program at 2 p.m. Feb. 2 at the Historical Society of Cecil County at 135 E. Main St., Elkton.
Lynch, who lives in Bethel, will read selected correspondence from servicemen featured in her book, based on the nearly 1,000 letters and hundreds of pictures her popular newspaper column, Nancy’s Vietnam Mailbag, received for five years from our troops on the front lines during the undeclared and unpopular war.
Included in Lynch’s readings will be the poignant December 1968 war letter from Army Pfc. Jim Stewart of Elkton, whose family shared his correspondence with the Mailbag. Jim wrote about being so far from the hearth during the holidays.
In her final column in December 1972, she promised “her guys” she would someday put all their war letters and pictures in a book to honor them. The 2008 Veterans Day release of her 456-page social history fulfills her pledge. The book earned a gold medal from Independent Publisher in 2009 for Best Non-Fiction in the Mid-Atlantic states.
Lovekin, who had a medical disability and could have avoided service in Vietnam, chose instead to enlist in the Army and spent a year in combat as a door gunner on a Huey helicopter and later as crew chief on a Cobra chopper. He was based in Bien Hoa and Vung Tau with the 147th Helicopter Company.
He wrote frequently to Lynch during his 1969-1970 tour, always signing his letters, “Your Man in Nam.” He will share some of his combat experiences as well as slides of images from Vietnam enhanced with 1960s music. Now retired, Lovekin lives in Wilmington, Del.