Love Endures: Miracles Happen
Our goal of this campaign was to solicit the funds needed to actualize a reunion of Fred Rivera and Herman Johnson, two Vietnam comrades who defied the conventional wisdom and allowed themselves to bond in a war zone, to develop genuine love and affection for each other even though at any moment a bullet or an RPG could punish them for the extravagance of connecting to one another.
The reunion at the Vietnam War Memorial in DC took place on July 10, exceeding all expectations, and culminated with Herman receiving the Purple Heart he piad for a half a century ago.
You can read the details of the events here:
We are closing down our campaign on July 30th, and we are genuinely grateful to all of you who contributed to the success of this venture.
When good people come together for good purpose, grace happens. Thank you for being among the good people.
with love and appreciation,
friend, editor and publisher of Fred Rivera
Because of your help and generosity, our mission to reunite Herman Johnson and Fred Rivera at the Vietnam War Memorial on July 10 was an overwhelming success. Our team in DC recognizes that most of you had highly personal reasons for donating, and please accept this collective thank you: We don't have personal email addresses for all of you and would have preferred to call you or write to you personally. You were a part of something bigger than ourselves: You converted a war story with a tragic ending into a love story, that is never ending. Fred and Herman show us that love endures.
Until the final days, it was uncertain if Herman would receive the Purple Heart he paid for in blood a half a century ago, but a very determined Fred Rivera, our "Junk Yard Dog" would not let it go, and solicited the help of Sandy Levin, the congressman from Herman's district, and retired Lt General Guy Swan, US Army to make it happen.
Up until the moment of presentation, Herman Johnson believed all was getting was a lapel pin, honoring his service.
A crowd of about fifty people gathered, and General Swan called for Sgt John Marek--the man who pondered the possibility that Herman had survived his wounds, and did the leg work to find him and put him in touch with Fred--was called forth to read the orders, as Fred and Herman stood shoulder to shoulder.
"By order of the President of the United States, Private First Class Herman Johnson is here-by awarded the Purple Heart for wounds sustained in Combat in Vietnam, 1969."
Herman was dumb-founded, as General Swan pinned the medal upon him. Rather then the formal handshake, the general took Herman in his arms, saying "Welcome home."
After the crowd finished cheering, there was not a dry eye to be found. The general and Congressman Levin acknowledged it had taken 47 years to right this wrong, and by recognizing and honoring Herman, they honored our American sense of justice.
It was a good day to be an American, a better day to be a Vietnam vet, and finest day imaginable to be Herman Johnson and Fred Rivera.
"Everyone is Broken...That's how the light gets in." Ernest Hemingway. Our project is starting to get some traction. We are far from our goal, but with your help the light WILL get in and shine brightly over the Vietnam War Memorial this July. Thanks to all of you who are contributing, and helping produce this documentary.
Thank you John Akers, Jacquie Schmall, Dolores Rider, Richard Holen and our two anonymous donors for starting to prime the pump!