Veterans Day recognition and appreciation for Pat Tillman

Appearing in the Washington Post this Veterans Day is an opinion piece written by Marie Tillman. Titled in the print version “Pat Tillman and Patriotic Discourse”, it speaks of legacy.

“Over the years, I’ve become used to people wanting to know what he would have thought about something in the news, or assign a way of thinking to him based on what they know about who he was at 27. They want to freeze him in time. I find it ironic because Pat was always known as a free thinker who was constantly growing. He was very different when we got together at 16 from who he was at 27, and he would have been different, too, at 42.”

Richard Morris described this maturation of thought in one of his final blogposts, “On the wrong side of history”  As a more mature person, he was sometimes embarrassed to read his opinions of a younger age, his letters home from Vietnam, and even some of his “bloodthirsty” song lyrics plus ones documenting the history of the 5th Cavalry under the leadership of Robert E. Lee.

Marie Tillman writes, “Pat lived his life with passion and respected this quality in others, once writing that, ‘to err on the side of passion is human and right and the only way I’ll live.'” Richard Morris was also passionate, especially when researching and inserting into novels the social justice issues that concerned him.

Marie Tillman continues, “Since last year, I’ve watched from the background as professional athletes have taken a knee to draw attention to injustice and racial inequality in the United States. Pat was in the military, so many people want to attach a brand of blind allegiance to him and use him to argue that kneeling during the national anthem is unpatriotic. Pat was also against the Iraq War, so many others want to use him to argue against American involvement in overseas wars. His essence is bent to fit an agenda.” Luckily, Richard Morris was not an icon whose memory can easily be manipulated. Additionally, since his death was less than one year ago, he has already spoken with regard to many current political issues and interpretations.

Thank you for your service, Pat Tillman and Richard Morris and all the others.


Songs I wrote in Vietnam in 1967 (my diary)

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Camp Radcliff

1st Cavalry Division Association 2019 calendar arrived today. Featured on the front is Camp Radcliff, Vietnam. Although Richard Morris’s Vietnam war satire, Cologne No. 10 for Men, refers to Camp Radcliff as Camp Vassar, Camp Radcliff was actually named for Major Donald Radcliff, the First Cavalry’s first combat death, and not the “Seven Sisters” college with similar spelling. Morris wrote about Camp Radcliff in his blog post “Fact or Fiction in Vietnam” Interchanging satirical names with actual names, Morris described the real Camp Radcliff:

The Last (First) Cavalry Division Base at Onkay (Ankhe)—Camp Vassar (Camp Radcliff)—had a swimming pool, officers club, NCO club, PX [store], commissary [grocery store], chapel, and library). No one carried a gun.” 

Another interesting article  describes the shopping at Camp Radcliff, “As a reporter for a division newspaper raved about the P.X. at Camp Radcliff in the Central Highlands of Vietnam: “There are a lot of shopping centers—in fact, whole towns—back in the world where you couldn’t find snuff, anchovies, baby oil, dice, flash bulbs, radios, and steak sauce in the same store, or even in the same general area. But at Camp Radcliff you can buy almost anything you want.” This article is a fascinating piece that describes the two different wars in Vietnam, that of the “REMFs” and that of the “grunts.” 

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Recognizing veterans

“Make plans now.  The Memorial Day Writers Project will hold its biannual reading on the National Mall this coming Veterans Day (Nov 11, 2018) from 11:30 am to 5:30 pm. We’ll be behind the sidewalk near 20 St.  and Constitution Ave.  Authors:  bring extra copies of your books to sell.  This is our 25th year on the Mall where we honor our veterans by celebrating and recalling their experiences through prose, poetry and song.  Tell a few friends and join us as we share our memories of good times and hard times in service to our country.”

Richard Morris will not be there to read from Cologne No. 10 for Men and to sing from Skytroopers: Songs of war, peace, and love from Vietnam.

In lieu of his participation, here are two blogposts Morris wrote; the first describes the 2010 Memorial Day Writers Project event on Veterans Day:

The second was written approximately two months prior to that when Richard was invited to speak to a high school class:


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Harvard Magazine has arrived

Artboard 2

Harvard Magazine November-December 2018 arrived this week. First two pages of “Harvard Authors’ Bookshelf” appear here.






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What fun!

A friend recently posted to Facebook (along with the notation of having himself done drawings in the link — not the 1908 catalog! — as a student 31 years ago):

For our fans of Sears Catalog Homes!

From NPR: The Sears Modern Homes catalog debuted in 1908, and it offered all the material and blueprints needed to build a house. The pieces that arrived in the mail were meant to fit together sort of like LEGOs, so buyers could build the houses themselves or hire contractors.

Learn more about Sears Houses by seeing the HABS documentation of an Alhambra model at

#HistoricHouse #SearsHouse #SearsHome #HistoricPreservation#CatalogHouses


In the early 1900s, Sears sold thousands of homes around the U.S. through its mail-order catalogs. Many of those houses are still around, and their owners are saddened by the retailer’s bankruptcy.


That’s Amy’s house! Amy is one of the protagonists in Masjid Morning by Richard Morris. He studied these homes while he was writing the novel. The one in this picture looks like the front of Amy Breckenridge’s home that Morris described on page 8 when she returns home after meeting Atif: “Her eyes swept across the stately two-story portico supported by six white columns with Corinthian scroll tops.” He refers to a sunroom on the right and a carport on the left.

Recent evidence from Richard Morris’s computer verified that Amy lived in a Sears Magnolia with a recent addition.

What fun to imagine Amy driving through the carport and entering the garage and the house addition at the rear. One can follow Amy on the floorplan up the stairs, past Jesse’s room, to her own room on the back of the house with the sleeping porch overlooking the addition. It is easy to picture her in her deep dressing room eavesdropping on her father’s meeting in the addition’s “trophy room.” Poor Amy — looks like she has to share a bathroom with her parents while Jesse has one to himself.


Imagine all the research and planning that went into this small part of a novel! You might enjoy printing the floorplan map to accompany you when you read Masjid Morning.

In what ways is the floorplan essential to the plot of the story? Perhaps only to architects, builders, and other house-savvy people who might be mentally distracted if the layout of the house didn’t fit together!

Our favorite builder says of Masjid Morning, “The book moves effortlessly between technical descriptions of a mosque rising from the ground like a living being and the emotional struggles between religions.” — Jay Endelman

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If your church romanticizes …

“If your church romanticizes the Hondurans they reach out to on short term mission trips, but demonizes the Hondurans seeking asylum in a refugee caravan, it might be time to re-examine what mission is really all about” is going around on Facebook currently.

Some readers of Masjid Morning by Richard Morris questioned whether character Randall, Amy’s father, was realistic enough — that they did not know people like this in their churches and in their lives.

Here is an excerpt:

masjid-coverThat night, when they were getting ready for bed, Eunice told Randall, “Maybe we need to get her away from here—get her mind on other things.”
“What—like to a camp or something?”
“Yes, but I think that would be too short. She needs to be away from this boy for a long time.”
“You think it is a boy, then?” he asked.
“It has to be, the way she’s acting. And I think it’s a Muslim boy.”
“God save us!” he said, pulling his pajama top over his head.
“It’s probably too late for her to become a camp counselor somewhere—camps are probably staffed up.”
“Maybe we could have her volunteer for a work camp,” he suggested, “building houses somewhere.”
“That’s an idea. I think Habitat’s still working along the Gulf Coast and in Haiti.”
He took off his watch and put it on the end table. “But I don’t think we want her around all those black people, do we? That would be asking for trouble. We don’t know what might happen to her in either of those places. Why don’t we ask around at church tomorrow about what mission trips are available and see what she might be interested in.”

Masjid Morning was published in 2016. Was Richard Morris ahead of his time in portraying such Christians? Would a reading of Masjid Morning today bring the response, “Right on target!” “Aptly describes …” Did it just take the reality that we could elect Trump as President and have many Christians continue to support him, to make us start to understand the true character of people we might know, love, or respect?

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1,000 miles or 12,000 minus 11,000 miles?

“Obama spoke about the slow-moving migrant caravan from Central America bound for the United States as another example of a Republican scare tactic.

“’Now the latest, they’re trying to convince everybody to be afraid of a bunch of impoverished, malnourished refugees a thousand miles away,’ he said. ‘That’s the thing that is the most important thing in this election,’ he said. ‘Not health care, not whether or not folks are able to retire, doing something about higher wages, rebuilding our roads and bridges and putting people back to work.’

“’Suddenly,’ he continued, changing his voice to a high-pitch to strike a mocking tone, ‘it’s these group of folks. We don’t even know where they are. They’re right down there.’”

Current scare tactics are reminiscent of the main reason many people supported the war in Vietnam — the domino theory.

Protagonist Wilfred Carmenghetti in Cologne No. 10 for Men muses:

“He thought of freedom and democracy and heard the machine-gun clatter of falling dominoes hitting each other, knocking the next to the tabletop. Then he remembered Robert Kennedy’s comment: ‘We’re killing innocent people because the communists are 12,000 miles away, and they might get 11,000 miles away.’ How could that justify the killing?”

Author Richard Morris speaks about the domino theory in his post:

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Lynching in Maryland

Between 1920 and 1938, the NAACP flew a flag outside its headquarters on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

“Between 1920 and 1938, the NAACP flew a flag outside its headquarters on Fifth Avenue in New York City. 

“What do we know about these racist attacks and how should we confront this horrific history today?” was the question introducing the Kojo Nnamdi show on WAMU 88.5. Titled “Lynching in Maryland: Confronting a Legacy of Local Violence,” the program asking this question was introduced with “Many people associate the Deep South with lynchings. But at least 40 happened in Maryland.”

This caller answered that initial question in this manner:

“White people tend to know little about the history of lynchings – the postcards depicting lynchings that were freely sent through the mail, the picnic-style settings in which some lynchings took place with a gathering of townspeople including children, and how the ruse of protecting white women covered up other reasons for lynchings, such as greed. We need to make the effort to learn, to teach, to join with Will Schwarz and Nicholas Creary’s (Maryland Lynching Memorial Project) initiative, and to utilize the offer of the Equal Justice Initiative to give us the duplicate columns for the lynchings which occurred in our counties (duplicate columns from EJI’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama).

Research-based fiction is another way to learn and to teach; Well Considered (2010) by Richard Morris is based on a lynching in Prince George’s County, MD, and Sycamore Row (2013) by John Grisham tells the same land-grab story but in Mississippi and from a different point of view. Morris’s research uncovered more Maryland lynchings than are identified by the Equal Justice Initiative, but EJI had stricter criteria for what qualified.”

EJI’s criteria included “African Americans killed by two or more Caucasian Americans between 1877 and 1950 and individuals whose murders could be documented with two or more primary sources.”




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Zombie Visibility

A year ago Richard Morris continued his support of the Hyattsville Elementary School PTA Zombie Run fundraiser as a Gold Sponsor; two weeks later he had a fall on October 26, followed by emergency surgery and complications. He died November 21, 2017. My memorial to him has been to keep his legacy visible, especially in the form of his books and songs. I am Barbara, his partner and wife of fifty years.


This blog now functions as Blog B, whether B for Barbara or B as secondary to the two hundred wonderful posts Richard left to us in his original blog. Today Richard Morris was a Gold-Sponsor-in-memory at the Hyattsville Elementary School PTA Zombie Run.

As a sponsor, there was a tent where I could display Richard’s novels and CD. In addition, I took our Sy Mohr painting of Hyattsville to amuse the community in identifying locations. Although Sy died in 2016, Richard was his webmaster and had previously established and maintained Sy Mohr’s website:

I also displayed Richard’s mementos from his two runs in the Marine Corps Marathon. Although we started out with light rain, that never keeps Hyattsville from supporting the Zombie Run. I was able to send home with hundreds of runners in their packet bags a card showing the beautiful poster display of Richard’s books (Cologne No. 10 for Men, Well Considered, Canoedling in Cleveland, and Masjid Morning) on the front and information about him on the back.

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Harvard Authors’ Bookshelf

Looking for a holiday gift for a special reader? Take a look at the Harvard Authors’ Bookshelf and find a book that won the BOOKVANA award in the Fiction: Romance category and was a Finalist in the International Book Awards in the same category. Kirkus called it “A thought-provoking and ultimately moving story that looks at love, human nature, and conservative religion.” Amy and Atif fall in love while their families feud over the building of a mosque.

More on Masjid Morning:

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