a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Vietnam vet makes peace

Roger J. Costello went to Vietnam when he was 18 years old, unaware that the country had been through an “eternity of suffering” because of its long history of war. At the time, he was serving his homeland of Australia, which backed up U.S. troops during the conflict.
“I saw my share of horror and destruction,” Costello, who now lives in Pittsburgh, wrote in the introduction to his new coffee table book, “Places and Faces: Vietnam.”
The professional photographer included more than 200 beautiful images in the book that he captured during his return trips to Vietnam three decades after the war.
The woman shown in his photo, above, is from Sa Pa, an area in Northwestern Vietnam that is home to ethnic cultures without modern implements to grow and harvest rice.
Costello is also a devoted member of the Friends of Danang, a group of Pittsburgh-area Vietnam War veterans who raise money to help poverty-stricken children living on their former battlefields. The group has funded construction of schools and medical clinics, as well as surgeries to make life easier for many children who have trouble walking.
The proceeds from the sale of the book will help these veterans continue their cause. It was printed in Vietnam, too, as a small effort to help rebuild the country’s economy. But, it’s only available by giving Costello at telephone call at 412-760-9033, or sending him an e-mail: rjcostello@grandviewphotos.com

This is a shot Costello took in Hoi An, which was a bustling seaport until silt washed down from the mountains in the 1800s and closed it off to the South China Sea.

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