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Rotary Report: Vietnam memories …

Weapons hidden in the mud by North Vietnam troops. The guns were pulled from the mud when needed. Steven Burchik’s group came upon them by accident. The American soldiers – kids in the photo – are in their 70s today. Burchik wondered what became of the Vietnam kids he photographed ... an unanswerable question. (STEVEN BURCHIK / Courtesy)
Weapons hidden in the mud by North Vietnam troops. The guns were pulled from the mud when needed. Steven Burchik’s group came upon them by accident. The American soldiers – kids in the photo – are in their 70s today. Burchik wondered what became of the Vietnam kids he photographed … an unanswerable question. (STEVEN BURCHIK / Courtesy)

By PAUL CRAIG
Special to the Tribune

About a third of Martinez Rotarians are vets. They’ve served in all services, and in many periods.

Rotary speaker Steven Burchik asked for a show of hands as he started his talk at a recent meeting of the local Rotary club. Burchik served in Vietnam during the height of the war – some 50 years ago. He managed to take his camera along. He got fantastic photos of war-time life during those days.

Steven Burchik speaks at a recent meeting of Martinez Rotary. (PAUL CRAIG / Courtesy)
Steven Burchik speaks at a recent meeting of Martinez Rotary. (PAUL CRAIG / Courtesy)
For decades he didn’t talk about his experiences. Finally at his wife’s urging, he did. He found it therapeutic. He scanned many thousands of slides from those days. The result was his book: “Compass and a Camera: A Year in Vietnam.” His photos are fantastic. Infantry on patrol. Smiling Vietnam kids. Lots of helicopters.

Martinez Rotarians reminisced about their time in the military. There was lots of discussion about the World War II Museum in New Orleans, which several members have visited and all liked. Among them Bruce Christensen, Rotary President Tom Abercrombie, and Jay Archibald. Jay and Janet Archibald visited the museum just last week. If you’re ever in New Orleans, go there!

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