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Steve Mason (1949 in Brooklyn, New York – May 25, 2005) was a decorated United States American combat veteran of the Vietnam War and a critically acclaimed poet. His poem "The Wall Within" was read at the 1984 dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.[1] and has the distinction of being the only American work of poetry on display at the war memorial in Hanoi. The author of four books, The Moths & Violets of Vito & Me: The Story of a Poem,[2] Johnny's Song,[3] Warrior for Peace,[4] and The Human Being: A Warrior's Journey Toward Peace and Mutual Healing,[5] his poetry related to his experiences as a captain in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. His work was hailed by veterans and their families nationwide. In addition to being the poet laureate of the Vietnam Veterans of America, he worked for veterans' causes. Diagnosed with lung cancer as a result of exposure to Agent Orange during the war, he became a participant and active advocate for the Oregon Death with Dignity Act,[6] and spoke at the California State Assembly for a similar law proposed in that state.[7] He died at his home in Ashland, Oregon, at the age of 65.[8][9] He is survived by four children.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Sites, Kevin (2013). The Things They Cannot Say: Stories Soldiers Won't Tell You About What They've Seen, Done or Failed to Do in War. HarperCollins. p. 135. ISBN 0062099221. 
  2. The Moths & Violets of Vito & Me: The Story of a Poem. Nashville, TN, USA: Aurora Publishers. 1974. ISBN 0876951825. 
  3. Mason, Steve (1986). Johnny's Song: Poetry of a Vietnam Veteran. Bantam Dell Publishing Group. ISBN 0553051601. 
  4. Mason, Steve (1988). Warrior for Peace. Touchstone Books. ISBN 0671663844. 
  5. Mason, Steve (1991). The Human Being: A Warrior's Journey Toward Peace and Mutual Healing. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0671667203. 
  6. Roosevelt, Margot (4 April 2005). "Choosing Their Time". Time Inc.. pp. 23–25. ISSN 0315-8446. 
  7. "Timeline". Compassion & Choices website. Compassion & Choices. http://www.compassionandchoices.org/who-we-are/timeline/. Retrieved 12 March 2013. "2006 ... Compassion & Choices’ Spokespeople, Steve Mason and Tom McDonald, give testimony in California State Assembly in support of California initiative AB 374, the California Compassionate Choices Act, which later fails by narrow margin." 
  8. Obituary:Steve Mason, poet and voice of Vietnam veterans
  9. Steve Mason, 65; Vietnam Veterans’ Poet Laureate

External links[edit | edit source]

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