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Letters to home inspire Vietnam veteran's book - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Letters to home inspire Vietnam veteran's book

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BOSSIER CITY, La - The hand-written letter.  A practice almost lost now in the digital age. But they meant a lot in years past.
Like during the Vietnam War when Joe Rhodes of Bossier City was fighting on the other side of the world.

He has a framed keepsake with portraits of himself out of Army basic training, and his mother, along with the letter she wrote to him as he deployed to Vietnam at age 19.

"'Goodbye sweet boy,'" Rhodes read from the letter, adding, "Ain't that sweet."

Rhodes held on to that letter during his year in Vietnam.  And back home, his mother held on to every letter he wrote.  Rhodes has them now. He estimates there are about 110. And on the envelopes of those letters,  he always wrote the words "Fly it home."  

So that's what he also put on the cover of a book he wrote about his hitch in Vietnam. The book includes reproductions of some of his actual handwritten letters about the war.

He also wrote about his older brother, Tommy.  They were based near each other in Da Nang.

"It was very important for me to see him and spend time with him in a war zone where people are out to kill you 10-thousand miles from home," Rhodes says.

He also wrote in the book about the day he said goodbye to Tommy as his brother boarded a plane home.

"And I thought, 'I'm here by myself. I better straighten up and fly right,'" Rhodes says. "I thought that was probably the day that I turned into a man."

He hopes readers will come away with this message: "Closeness of family, what family means to me, what duty means to me, what the Declaration of Independence means to me."

Rhodes' book "Fly it Home" is available now on Amazon and will be in bookstores soon.
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