Vietnam Reflections by Michael Keene


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Eight boys from the rural community of Holley, New York, died fighting in Vietnam. All went to the same high school where the average graduating class consisted of just 30 students. This is believed to be one of the highest casualty rates per capita of any town and school in the United States.

The ‘Holley boys’ were awarded 40 medals for combat and valor including seven Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star, Silver Star and the Vietnamese Cross for Gallantry. But they were more than soldiers and heroes. They played Little League, were Boy Scouts, went to sock-hops and performed in the high school marching band. But they also drove hot-rods, drank beer, smoked, and brawled. They weren’t angels. They were boys–once.

Now, nearly 50 years later, their stories are finally told. Drawing upon over 60 interviews with family members, access to personal letters, diaries, newspaper accounts of the day and after action combat reports, we learn not only about the lives of these boys but also about a seldom seen slice of American society and a remarkable small town you probably never heard of, before that damn war changed everything.


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