Melissa Robinson, journalist and author
Friday, January 12, 6;30-8:30 pm
The Search for Canasta 404: Love, Loss, and the POW+MIA Movement
by Melissa B. Robinson & Maureen Dunn
Kyi May Kaung will facilitate (so join us, also, to welcome her back from travel to Asia).
The whirlwind romance of Joe and Maureen Dunn began in the spring of 1963. Each the youngest child of a working-class Irish Boston family, they quickly fell in love and were married soon after they met. Joe subsequently enlisted in the Navy, attended flight school, and volunteered for Vietnam. On Valentine's Day 1968 — eleven days after his first tour of duty was extended — Joe was ferrying an unarmed plane, call sign "Canasta 404," when he drifted into Chinese airspace and was shot down.
That tragedy helped to ignite one of the most important social movements of recent decades. Eyewitness accounts suggested Joe might have survived the initial attack, but Maureen, determined to prove her husband was still alive, met with resistance rather than answers from a stonewalling U.S. government. In response, she organized the "Where is Lt. Joe Dunn?" committee, one of the first POW/MIA activist organizations in the country.
Part love story, part inside account of the growth of a movement, The Search for Canasta 404 is a deeply personal narrative of private tragedy and public activism.
Melissa B. Robinson is a reporter for The Associated Press in Washington, D.C., where she covers New England issues. Maureen Dunn is leading an effort to build a national POW/MIA memorial in Boston.