Fall Faculty Series continues with presentation by local author

Mount Mercy University’s Fall Faculty Series, Stories We Tell: Legacies of the Vietnam War, will continue on Oct. 13 with a presentation by Dale Kueter, author and former reporter for the Cedar Rapids Gazette, at 7 p.m. in Betty Cherry Heritage Hall.

The presentation, titled “The Wounds Of Vietnam: How Long Will the Healing Take?,” will focus on “Vietnam Sons,” a book written by Kueter about Iowan Charles Edward Gradoville, a Lance Corporal in the United States Marine Corps who died in 1967 while fighting in the Vietnam War.

The book follows Gradoville’s life and death, focusing on how his death affected his family at home, and a Marine from Marion, Iowa, K.C. Churchill, who served next to Gradoville.

“I wrote ‘Vietnam Sons’ because of the story,” Kueter said. “While I hope it honors all who served there, it really is the story of two Iowans who lived ten minutes apart but did not know each other until they met in the jungles of Vietnam. One is killed and the other believes he was responsible. The surviving Marine has become like a son to the deceased Marine's father. It is that unique circle in life that grabbed my attention and compelled me to write the book.”

Kueter will on present his book and how the wounds of Vietnam have yet to fully heal.

“Remembering is important, and Mount Mercy is doing a great service not only to veterans but the community at large,” Kueter said. “They say time has a way of healing, and there is some truth in that, but time cannot fully erase the personal pain of many directly involved in Vietnam. Nor has time, in my opinion, closed the division that Vietnam created in our country. It is a festering part of our history.”

Joe Sheller, associate professor of communication and coordinator of the Fall Faculty Series, hopes many students, faculty and community members join in learning about Gradoville’s life and the life lessons Kueter has to teach.

“I think this session, one of three that involves guest lecturers, promises to be a highlight of our Vietnam Series,” Sheller said. “Just as the community packed the room to hear the first-hand experiences of veterans, I hope many people from Mount Mercy and the local area come to hear the important message Dale Kueter will deliver.”

With this event following the on-campus presence of The Moving Wall, Mount Mercy continues its commitment to remembering those who served and lost their lives in Vietnam.

“Charles E. Gradoville, a Regis High School graduate who died in Vietnam, has already visited Mount Mercy in spirit, with his name engraved in The Moving Wall,” Sheller said. “Now we will have a chance to also encounter his family and others who knew him.”

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