Remembering the Forgotten

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. –John 15:13 NLT

My late cousin Mary Ann’s career as a military nurse was the inspiration for my second novel, The Heart Remembers.

While my cousin served at a U.S. Navy hospital in Japan during the Vietnam War years, Vangie, the main character in my novel, was a fictional Army nurse who served during that conflict. Vietnam, specifically Pleiku, a town in the central highlands, was the setting for Part One of the book. However, the story wasn’t about the war. The war was but a backdrop of the romance between Vangie and Seth, a medical evacuation helicopter pilot.

Through my research, I pored through several books, including A Piece of My Heart by Keith Walker and Home Before Morning by Lynda Van Devanter, true stories of military nurses who’d served in Vietnam. I learned of the Army’s medical evacuation program in Rescue Under Fire: The Story of Dust Off in Vietnam by John Cook. I read about the bravery of Dust Off pilot Chief Warrant Officer Michael J. Novosel that earned him a Medal of Honor. I learned of the Medcap program that provided medical care to the Qui Hoa Leper Hospital.

In short, I discovered there was good done in Vietnam that never saw press.

The Heart Remembers is a story that patriotic me wrote with passion and sorrow. I was a high school, then college, student during the Vietnam War years. I knew of the protests and the shameful treatment the Vietnam veterans received when they returned stateside. Not a hero’s welcome, that’s for sure.

I hoped my book would somewhat right the wrong by showing at least a glimpse of the courage, grit, and compassion shown in the midst of a very unpopular war. I’m not saying everything done in Vietnam was humane. But since when is war, at any time, humane? When is any war a “popular” war?

When the manuscript was finished, a local Vietnam veteran who was a former Navy Seal read it for accuracy. Then I sent it off. Several publishers seriously considered it. A senior acquisitions editor for a major Christian publishing house liked it so much she presented the manuscript to the committee that determines what gets published and what doesn’t. I had high hopes.

Until I received her email: “Our editorial board met yesterday, and I regret to say we won’t be moving ahead with The Heart Remembers. There was still a lot of concern about the salability of the Vietnam War even as a partial setting, and I’m sorry about that.”

“Even after all these years,” I told my husband, “these poor Vietnam vets are still getting slammed.”

So I published it myself as an independent author-publisher.

The Heart Remembers stands as my tribute to the brave men and women who served their country during a war that some folks still try to hide in the closet. Yet the Vietnam vets I know proudly fly Old Glory in their front yards.

Every Veteran’s Day, this heart remembers.

Thank you, Lord, for the selfless men and women who have served and are serving their country. Bless them and protect them. Smile upon them and be gracious to them. Show them Your favor and give them Your peace (Numbers 6:24–26 NLT). Amen.

Read and reflect on John 15:9–17.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons, © 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

The Heart Remembers is available on Amazon in print and Kindle editions. Click here to get yours. Or you may contact me for an autographed copy at michelethuey@gmail.com.

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the story of my heart.

Forty years after meeting, falling in love with, and marrying Dust Off pilot Seth Martin then losing him when he’s declared MIA during the Vietnam War, Evangeline “Vangie” Martin decides it’s time to move on. After having him declared dead, she heads to a mountain resort for her fortieth high school reunion, hoping to reconnect with her high school sweetheart. But fate has other plans. The resort caretaker is none other than her Seth, but with no memory of his life before being shot down. When he refuses to acknowledge his true identity, Vangie must make a decision: If she is to have the love she’s waited for so long, she must forget the past and accept Seth as he is now. But can she?

REVIEWS:

In two days I read THE HEART REMEMBERS by Michele Huey because I simply could not put it aside! I was hooked from the first page, and that’s what I need to enjoy a story. It’s divided into two parts: 1970-1971, and 2007, but they don’t flip-flop, which I really appreciate. First setting is Vietnam where we meet an Army nurse and an Army captain who pilots a Dust Off helicopter. From there, it just gets better with each page. I’m not going to give anything away.

Huey is a gifted Christian writer who can produce a work that’s not preachy, just clean and enjoyable. It is so well assembled with continual real-life surprises and a very satisfying ending. This piece introduced me to this author’s work, and I will definitely be acquiring more as they come out. THE HEART REMEMBERS was absolutely one of the all-time best books ever! Five-Star all the way!

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