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Rebuilding Vietnam One School at a Time

Lew's Legacy

Lewis B. Puller

The Vietnam Children's Fund was the dream of Lewis B. Puller, Jr. who lost both legs and most of both hands to a land mine during the Vietnam War. Lew was awarded two Purple Hearts and a Silver Star while serving as a Marine Lieutenant. His personal experience, expressed in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Fortunate Son, led him to believe that in war no one goes unscathed, and that children, the most vulnerable of all, suffer the greatest hardships.

In the year before his death, Lew Puller returned to Vietnam seeking ideas for the living memorial he and several friends had decided to build to honor the Vietnamese men, women, and children who died in that country's long wars. He decided that the most appropriate monument to the past and greatest hope for the future would be schools for Vietnam's children.

Lew died just before the ground-breaking of the first school, built in Quang Tri Province on the old demilitarized zone and dedicated in his name on the 20th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. Since Lew's death, his friends have remained determined to realize his dream.