RU Airborne Inc., founded by 101st Airborne Division veteran Ron Ymbras and his son Matthew, recently published “Fallen Never Forgotten: Vietnam Memorials in the USA.” The glossy book features photos of Vietnam memorials in all 50 states, as well as a printed list of all those who didn’t come home.
Vietnam memorials otherwise out of sight become accessible through the pages of the book. The publishers have Rockland roots. Matthew was a graduate of Nanuet High School and Ron lived in the county for three decades.
“Fallen Never Forgotten” gives everyone an opportunity to visit memorial sites around the country and read the names of those who didn’t come back home, remembered at each location. The book contains over 350 professional photos on 12 x 9″ pages. There are 268 pages in all.
Ymbras said trauma from the war and the cold reception veterans received upon their return home caused him to keep quiet about the war, but also revisit those years privately many times. As he got older, he eventually opened up about it.
He explained, “The Vietnam War has the largest number of surviving veterans. It was one of our saddest and longest wars. We served in good faith and received no gratitude or recognition upon returning home. There were no parades, marching bands or hangar receptions. Each soldier, sailor, marine or flyboy came home in solitude and faced disgrace. We did not lose the war, we lost the will of the country.”
Ron Ymbras was first encouraged to write the book by his son several years ago. When Ron began opening up about his wartime experiences a bit, Matthew learned that his dad had more paraphernalia and mementos from the war than he could have imagined.
“Years ago Matthew was enamored by the-I would call it, stuff-Vietnam hotos, relics, Vietnamese money, newspaper articles, papers, effects, ammo, guns, helmet, Viet Cong items. He would say I have to make a book about this some day,” Ron Ymbras explained.
The idea took greater shape when Ron did a reunion chute jump in Florida that segued into a reenactment in Normandy. He noticed how war memorials had changed around the country and world and after discussing the matter with fellow veterans, realized he could be of service by compiling a photo record of new and updated memorials.
He soon was spending virtually every evening researching the project. It took father and son nine months to complete the work with the help of photographers around the country.
Ymbras said veterans understand the real meaning of the book. “As soon as someone picks up book, they go to their state to look up someone they know. The listing, photographs, smashing white background, has a strong effect on guys.”
“Fallen Never Forgotten: Vietnam Memorials” in the USA is available online at Amazon and Ebay as well as in physical stores such as the Purple Heart Museum and Virginia War memorial gift shop. The publishers are working on a Barnes and Noble release and hopefully some press from Fox News or other media.