March 7, 2021

This week’s one hour radio broadcast with host Dale Throneberry has two guests.

  • Tim O’Brien, Vietnam Army Sergeant and author of “The Things They Carried” and recently released docufilm “The War and Peace of Tim O’Brien”
  • Phil Weitlauf, Army veteran and Director of the Michigan War Dog Memorial

O'Brien's Vietnam & Weitlauf's War Dog Memorial

Hosted by Dale Throneberry

The War and Peace of Tim OBrien

Sgt. Tim O’Brien, Vietnam, Army – 1969

O’Brien earned his BA in 1968 in political science from Macalester College, where he was student body president. That same year he was drafted into the United States Army and was sent to Vietnam, where he served from 1969 to 1970 in 3rd Platoon, Company A, 5th Battalion, 46th Infantry Regiment, part of the 23rd Infantry Division (the Americal Division) that contained the unit that perpetrated the My Lai Massacre the year before his arrival. O’Brien has said that when his unit got to the area around My Lai (referred to as “Pinkville” by the U.S. forces), “we all wondered why the place was so hostile. We did not know there had been a massacre there a year earlier. The news about that only came out later, while we were there, and then we knew.”

Tim O’Brien has been called “the best American writer of his generation,” and America’s “poet laureate of war.” A Vietnam veteran, and National Book Award-winner, O’Brien is one of the great voices in modern American literature. The Library of Congress recently named his groundbreaking novel about the Vietnam War, The Things They Carried, one of the 65 most influential books in US history.

But O’Brien hasn’t put pen to paper in nearly two decades. He swore off making sentences when, at a late age, he had his first of two children. Plus, the nation was waging new wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that he couldn’t wrap his head around – wars that both reconfirmed and upended the notions of war, soldiers, and society that animated his books. Now, Tim O’Brien is trying to write again. He thinks the country is past due for a conversation about war’s impact. He thinks we’re running out of time. And, at age 70, that he is too.

What makes wars worth fighting? How do we write about war? What are the obligations of citizens with respect to war?  What are the after-effects of war on individuals and families? The War and Peace of Tim O’Brien follows O’Brien on the journey of his last book, as he reveals the everyday ties between duty, art, family, and the trauma of war.

The War and Peace of Tim O’Brien is available as a VOD on Tuesday 2 March 2021 – www.timobrienfilm.com

This is NOT Tim’s First Book

The Things They Carried Tim O'BrienThe Things They Carried depicts the men of Alpha Company: Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and the character Tim O’Brien, who has survived his tour in Vietnam to become a father and writer at the age of forty-three.

Taught everywhere—from high school classrooms to graduate seminars in creative writing—it has become required reading for any American and continues to challenge readers in their perceptions of fact and fiction, war and peace, courage and fear and longing.

The Things They Carried won France’s prestigious Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize; it was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

This book will be the basis for a new movie to be produced by Tom Hardy in 2021/2022.

Michigan War Dog Memorial

Phil Weitlauf, War Dog Memorial – Lyon Township, Michigan

In 1936, the Elkow family of Lyons Township, Michigan built the “Happy Hunting Grounds Pet Cemetery.” In 1946 when the news of how many lives had been saved by War Dogs during WWII local residents raised the necessary money to install a monument to show their respect to their heroic K-9’s. By the mid 80’s interment had stopped and over the next 25 years nature took over.

In the summer of 2010 Phil Weitlauf, Project Director of the Michigan War Dog Memorial, was told about an abandoned war dog monument at the corner of Milford Rd and 11 Mile in Lyon Township. Phil took his trusted companion Cody, a German Shepherd, to take a look. When they arrived at the corner we saw nothing but a heavily wooded area. They parked the car and went for a walk and there it was a large granite monument with the words “The War Dog.” As we looked around we could see several headstones buried in the foliage and brush. The site was in horrible shape…and that’s when Phil knew something had to be done to preserve “The War Dog.” 

Our interview with Phil in 2013

For More Information: www.mwdm.org

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