Keith Francis Organ is a retired draftsman who worked for private industries and as a civil servant. He served with the 9th Infantry Division during the Vietnam War and was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for valor. He lives in Tomah, Wisconsin, in the summer and in Green Valley, Arizona, in the winter. He has been married to his wife, Shi, for fifty years. He has two children and one grandson. The Tree of Souls is his first book.
The Tree of Souls
As a Catholic boy raised on a rural dairy farm in Wisconsin, author Keith Francis Organ was taught that killing was something you never did—not even to an unborn child. Until he was nineteen, he believed people in the world were mostly good.
Getting drafted into the Vietnam War forces a dismantling of that belief and renders him capable of killing. After combat in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam in 1968–69, killing seems normal—and most of his humanity is suppressed.
When an injury from a booby trap sends him to a field hospital for amputation of his left leg, he is faced with starting the process of reinstalling his humanity. Once home, he finds a sympathetic mother but an insensitive environment that doesn’t support the veterans of the Vietnam War and a veterans administration that allows unqualified employees to treat his injuries. His reaction is anger, isolation, and bitterness.
The Tree of Souls portrays one man’s journey of disillusionment and eventual enlightenment and includes recommendations to improve our society. It’s a raw, honest portrayal of the experience of many during the Vietnam War and the aftermath of life once they returned home.