Decoration for Valor follows the lives of three people during the turbulent, early 70s. As the Vietnam War drags on, many in the United States are angry- or indifferent about the war and with the soldiers who fought it.
A twenty-year old soldier is wounded in Vietnam and returns home crippled. He is sent to Walter Reed Hospital and goes on to a Veterans hospital to challenge his physical disabilities and his self doubts. While in this hospital, filled with men who have faced war and disfigurement, he attempts to work through the psychological demons that plague him.
A young nurse completes her tour of duty and returns home with her own scars of war to a husband that no longer knows her.
A 21-year old student nurse prepares to go to Vietnam while facing the discouragement of her peers.
These three lives intersect and each learns how to triumph over their past, their present, and their uncertain futures.
Cassilly brilliantly cuts to the human side of one of the most controversial wars in American history. His book is a stunning tribute to American soldiers, their loyalty to each other and their determination to reclaim their lives, told through memories, dreams and stories. It is an accurate and chilling account of the social and emotional climate that these young men and women encountered upon their return and during their service.
Joe Cassilly served in Vietnam as a Ranger in the U.S. Army. He obtained a psychology degree from the University of Arizona and a law degree from the University of Baltimore. Mr. Cassilly taught law at a community college, served as a criminal prosecutor and has been the State Attorney of Harford County, Maryland from 1982 to the present. He received the prestigious honor of Outstanding Marylander with a Disability, and this year was elected President of the National District Attorneys Association. He lives with his wife, Diana in Benson, Maryland. Decoration for Valor is his first novel.