One of the delights of being at our book sale this past weekend was encountering author Lisa Lark and her strong, boxed-books-laden husband pouring over reference materials. In addition to writing, Lisa teaches English at Edsel Ford High School.
If you were fortunate enough to attend our Installation Dinner last June, I am certain you recall her compelling presentation on the extraordinary losses Dearborn suffered during the Vietnam conflict. At that time, Lisa was on leave from teaching for the Dearborn Public Schools and was working hard to finalize her manuscript.
Now her book entitled All They Left Behind: Legacies of the Men and Women on the Wall is about to be released. Appropriately, Veterans Day, November 11, 2012, is the official publication date. The book is being published in commemoration of the thirtieth anniversary of The Wall and is sponsored by The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation.
Like all good-responsive teachers, Lisa sought to find the answer to a simple query from a student about the names listed on a memorial plaque in a hallway at Edsel Ford High School. Lisa soon found herself enmeshed in solving the mystery of lives that had been reduced to names. The Dearborn connection grew into the Michigan connection and then the entire United States connection. The work became so demanding that Lisa soon found herself needing to take a leave from teaching in order to devote herself full-time to her research efforts.
She partnered with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and was soon gathering biographical information, stories and photographs that amplified the lives of the men and women named on The Wall in Washington, D.C. Eventually Lisa devoted two years of her life to conducting five-hundred interviews with friends and family of the deceased in order to more fully reveal individual histories, personalities and acts of courage.
Her book focuses upon sixty-eight individuals who sacrificed everything in that fraught conflict. More than 58,000 names appear on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund website explains: “In 1982 the American people helped The Vietnam Veterans Memorial fund complete an impossible mission to heal a nation and bring comfort and solace to a generation of Veterans. Today, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is working to complete this mission by building The Education Center, the place on the National Mall where our heroes’ stories will never be forgotten.”
Lisa Lark is a recipient of the Hometown Heroes Award by The History Channel and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. Please honor her by purchasing her book!