BEN STAN­LEY

North & South - - Contributors -

The Viet­nam War had long been an area of great in­ter­est for writer Ben Stan­ley, but it never be­came real for him un­til he stum­bled across the in­cred­i­ble story of Auck­land broth­ers Jim and Garry Lott (see page 67). Their fa­ther was Amer­i­can and although the broth­ers grew up in Mt Al­bert and con­sid­ered them­selves Ki­wis, both served in the United States Marines in South Viet­nam. Garry sur­vived the war but Jim was killed in ac­tion on May 8, 1968 – one of only two New Zealan­ders whose names are in­scribed on the Viet­nam Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial Wall in Wash­ing­ton DC.

Stan­ley’s visit to the wall last Septem­ber sent him on a re­portage jour­ney he de­scribes as “the most mov­ing of my ca­reer. The story of the Lott boys is a war story in its truest form – be­cause it’s as much about the guilt of sur­vival and what it means to lose some­one you love so young.” May 8 also has spe­cial im­por­tance for the Stan­ley fam­ily, he says; it was the date his un­cle died. Watch­ing his fa­ther grieve for a muchloved brother helped Stan­ley un­der­stand Garry Lott’s pain.

A mul­ti­ple Canon Me­dia Award-win­ning jour­nal­ist (and a fi­nal­ist again this year), Stan­ley splits his time between his home­town Tāupo and Mem­phis, Ten­nessee, where he re­cently pro­posed to a beau­ti­ful red­head named Lau­ren.

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