6 a.m., March 12
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Returning to Vietnam in Peace
In 1969, Steve Bates left Vietnam on a field stretcher as a wounded combat veteran. Since then, the effects and after-effects of those wounds have been a big part of his life as he pursued a greater understanding of what happened to him and what the war was really all about. During that time Steve authored "In Search of Truly Noland" and is currently working on his second book.
In 2009, Steve returned to Vietnam nearly 40 years after the day he last saw it. Steve was part of a group of 10 Purple Heart recipients from the Viet Nam war and found his trip was enlightening in mind and in spirit. He came away with a much better understanding of the war, the Vietnamese people, the country, and the circumstances of his involvement in the whole matter. Steve says his trip was "interesting, exciting, and therapeutic" all at the same time.
Yesterday was the First Annual Vietnam Veterans Day in California, signed into law last fall by Gov. Arnold Schwartznegger.
Veterans, their grown children, and members of the local community gathered on March 30th at the San Diego Center for Spiritual Living to experience a new idea of Vietnam through Steve Bates' presentation of "RETURNING TO VIETNAM IN PEACE" during this year's Season for Nonviolence.
From the over 1,000 photographs he took last April, Steve narrated a pictorial view of Vietnam now and related stories from some of his many conversations with local people and his tour guide. Steve presented the beauty of Vietnam today and the resiliance of her people with introspection, intelligence, awareness, compassion, and respect for their ingenuity and resourcefulness. Steve commented, "They're people. Just like us."
Steve Bates was interviewed by NBC 7/39 the morning of California's First Annual Vietnam Veterans Day. http://www.nbcsandiego.com/station/as-seen-on/Vietnam_Vets_Honored_for_Service_San_Diego.html