TAD BARTIMUS: In "In-Country," Tad Bartimus recalls her days as an Associated Press reporter in Vietnam – reporting from the AP’s Phnom Penh office with Edie Lederer during a Khmer Rouge attack, covering an attack on a schoolyard in the Mekong Delta that killed twenty-three children, the life-long friendships forged in Vietnam ("Those first twenty-four hours in Saigon, I met people who became as important to me as any I would ever know."), the orphans she befriended and her devastating autoimmune disease contracted after exposure to toxic poisoning. "What I miss most about Vietnam is knowing the rules. In-country, I had a clear understanding of what I could or could not do. I learned fast that love, honor, and friendship were all that mattered. I lived in the moment because it was all I had.... Now I live in, but not of, a world that overwhelms me. I often turn away from its complexity, speed, and surfeit of nformation. Because I learned in Vietnam that the worth of a life isn't measured in money, power, possessions, or status, I am out of step with most of the people around me."

Tad Bartimus writes books and the weekly syndicated column "Among Friends" and is a radio commentator. She lives in Hawaii with her husband. To contact Tad, email wartorn@tadbartimus.com.