The journey begins. . .
On New Year’s Day 2017, as I hiked up Under Mountain Trail to the AT (Appalachian Trail) and on to the peak of Bear Mountain, Connecticut’s highest point, the concept of a journey began. I was finally feeling well enough to attempt this modest climb, and my mind was bouldering from thought to thought. The day was overcast but warm for the first day of the year, conditions which reflected my mood. The preceding year had been fraught with flare-ups and remissions, and with nasty political turmoil. If news reports are to be believed our country was, and is, more divided, and its people more polarized, than at any other point in my life… a state I found (and find) deeply disturbing.
How does one go about rediscovering America? As I slipped on an icy spot on the trail, John Steinbeck came to mind—I don’t know why. I had not read one of his books in decades, but what I was conjuring up—a trip to gauge the pulse of the nation, to rediscover America, and to challenge and reconnect to self—was something in the vein of Travels With Charley...perhaps with more of a bite.
How to do it? How to rediscover this land, this nation, from purple mountain majesty and from sea to shining sea… from original ethos to the essence of its people a dozen generations later? More than a quarter century ago I told a reporter I believed the basic American character was one of integrity and honesty, altruism and a belief that we could help other people and other nations.
Be part of this journey. Come, rediscover this land in words, film and photos. Our Mission is Peaking and Paradigm Shifts. The connection will become apparent as we climb. For now let me just say: I have a feeling we’re going to find that the amazing place called America is still be here, tarnished perhaps, but still strong of heart.
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John M. Del Vecchio is the best-selling author of The 13th Valley and other historical novels on war and the veteran home coming experience. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Lafayette College. Drafted in 1969 he volunteered for Viet Nam where he served as a combat correspondent for the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile); he awarded a Bronze Star with V device. He is a managing member of Charlie Foxtrot Entertainment, LLC, and a director for The Freedom Angel Foundation.
Books & Papers
The 13th Valley: A national bestseller and runner up for The National Book Award (Best first novel) 1982.
For The Sake Of All Living Things: The story of a Cambodia family during the years leading up to, and through the holocaust.
Carry Me Home: A story of veteran homecoming spanning initial return and the following fifteen tumultuous years.
Darkness Falls: The story of a man cracking under the pressures of modern life in America, and of the secret keep by his father that underlies his insanity: contemporary saga dealing with families, schools, race, gangs, shootings, and corruption.
Code Word: Geronimo: (Afterword only) This is the story of the raid by SEAL Team 6 into Abbotabad, Pakistan to take out bin Laden. Story written by Dale and Julia Dye.
The Bremer Detail: Protecting the Most Threatened Man in the World: Frank Gallagher's memoir of being in charge of the protection detail for Ambassador Bremer in Iraq 2003-4.
Viet Nam Veterans: On The Road To Recovery: (forward only)
The Importance of Story: Individual and Cultural Effects of Skewing the Realities of American Involvement in Southeast Asia for Social, Political and/or Economic Ends. Delivered in conference at Texas Tech University.
Image provided by Wild Perspectives Photography