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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
When a young helicopter pilot from southern California completes two tours of Vietnam, he decides to book a seat on Pan American Flight 001 instead of returning home. He knew that there would be no gratitude or celebration of his service to his country waiting for him, only hostility and protests. Richard Jellerson never spoke about his time in Vietnam to his family; his nightmares were hidden with humor. Richard's transition from boy to soldier was brutally fast and he quickly learned that the way to save his sanity would be numbing his emotions. After the war, Richard traveled across the world from the Far East and Europe to Africa, the Middle East, and Australia. He discovered the gift of warmth and kindness from strangers that renewed his trust in humanity. Richard's journey led him toward a path of enlightenment that began to heal and repair his distorted view about himself and others, bringing about a much-needed inner peace.
The Healing: Pan American Flight 001 is an incredibly touching story that highlights the best and worst of human behavior. The events of the Vietnam War are described so vividly and some of the scenes were very hard to read because of the heartbreaking content. I found the stories of Sgt. Sandy Johnson and Mike Goeller especially moving. His descriptive observations throughout were fantastic. For example, on the environment in Vietnam: 'Sweat. Incurable thirst. Dust. Mind-sucking heat, mind-sucking war. Only takes a year of your young life if you survive it.' There were many references to details of the Vietnam War that I was not aware of, such as the carnage of the Battle of Kham Duc. I thought his views on war and the politicians that give the orders, so powerful and thought-provoking. I also loved his comparisons between atheism and religion and the impact both have on humans co-existing peacefully. The Healing: Pan American Flight 001 by Richard Jellerson is a compelling read that I highly recommend.