Vet shares Vietnam experience through journal

CONYERS - Conyers resident Hamel Morris was inspired to keep a journal during his 10-month tour of duty in Vietnam, but it took 37 years and the encouragement of a good friend before he was ready to publish it.

"Incoming Rounds: A Vietnam Diary" is based on Morris' time from 1967 to 1968 when he served in the infantry during the Vietnam War. He wrote in his diary each day and secured it in a plastic bag to keep it safe from inclement weather and other environmental factors.

"I put it away and looked at it a few times, but it wasn't until I moved to Georgia from New York and met one of my buddies here and he persuaded me that it should be shared," Morris said.

Morris, who retired after 30 years with the U.S. Postal Service in Brooklyn, N.Y., moved to the Atlanta area when he was offered a job with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Morris said he remembered his best friend from the war, Donald Robinson, was from Atlanta, but didn't know if he still lived in the area. So, he looked up his name in the phone book and the two friends reconnected.

"As close as we were, he was my best friend in Vietnam and he got me to publish it," Morris said.

"Incoming Rounds" includes photographs from his time in the war, as well as an epilogue that recounts a reunion in 2005 of soldiers he served with during the war and their families.

Morris is currently writing his second book, "Brooklyn Zoo," that recounts his career with the post office.

Morris will have copies of his book, "Incoming Rounds," at this year's Cherry Blossom Festival at Booth 261, along with the original diary.

For more on Morris and his book, visit www.carymyrabooks.com.

Aimee Jones can be reached at aimee.jones@rockdalecitizen.com.