Beginning with "Awake and Rise"
It was at the U. S. Department of State (State), the summer of 1979, four years after the "Fall of Vietnam," April 30, 1975.
Top-floor State brass summoned Jim to help with a growing crisis. Urgent appeals from foreign service officers in Southeast Asia told of thousands more former Vietnamese allies--and their families--at risk, barely surviving as refugees.
Approval to build within State a new U.S. refugee program--almost from the bottom up--had finally come through. Work had to begin at once, or State might lose this critical foreign affairs role to a group of agencies outside State.
Jim faced serious career and personal challenges when the summons came. He did not want more problems to deal with; yet, there must have been a reason why he listened to the needs that day.
Learning about the enormous project they wanted him to take on--to design and build this new program-- Jim's mind formed one question:
"If I take on this role that rumor calls a 'career wrecker,' will State keep its word to back me up for what I'll need to make such a program work?"
Motivation to write this bookWhat do you do when you say 'yes' to a tough job that affects your country's and your life's history?
In 1969, 10 years before State's top-floor summons, Jim had been present at a White House press conference (Ron Zeigler, press secretary) when reporters' question focused on him, a "lowly budget analyst," amid rumors of Nixon's "secret plan to end the war in Vietnam";
...a decade later Americans woke up to reports of post-Vietnam refugees and Cambodian "killing fields" survivors and drowning 'boat people.'
No one could have guessed that these crises were prologue in the global refugee decade.
From the internet: "Until 1969, the Press Corps Offices space was occupied by the White House Gymnasium and Flower Shop. Prior to that, ...a room in the northwest corner of the West Wing."
In those days, members of the press were eager to scoop any sign of Richard Nixon's "secret plan" to end the war in Vietnam.
Jim's role in preparing a military supplemental led the press to question him about its significance as a signal of the war's end.
Disclosure: Jim Purcell, my husband, has encouraged my interest in creating and posting on JNP Book blog.
I am thankful for people that have offered their enthusiasm and input to his efforts.