Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, during an interview in Tokyo in 1969.

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, during an interview in Tokyo in 1969. (Hugh Copeland / ©Stars and Stripes)

TOKYO — Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, here en route to visit U.S. troops in Vietnam, said Tuesday American fighting men must know their country has not forgotten them.

"The anti-war demonstrations don't represent the heartbeat of America," he said. "Our servicemen in Vietnam shouldn't be discouraged by a few long-haired so-and-so's."

Famed author of "The Power of Positive Thinking," Peale has written 16 other books, including "Stay Alive All Your Life," "The Tough-Minded Optimist," and his latest book, "Enthusiasm Makes the Difference."

Here for a brief vacation, Peale and his wife, Ruth, will be going to Vietnam Aug. 4 for a three-day visit at the request of President Nixon.

"Mr. Nixon told me, 'I want you to go over there (Vietnam) and talk to them (the troops),"' Peale said. "The men in Vietnam are in his heart and it bothers him to no end. I guess that is why he sent me to see what I can do. I plan to visit Da Nang, Long Binh and several hospitals," Peale said.

The 71-year-old Peale is a long-time friend of the Nixons and has conducted a worship service in the White House for the first family.

He also is close to the family of the late Dwight D. Eisenhower and officiated at the wedding of Nixon's daughter, Julie, to David Eisenhower.

When asked how a soldier in Vietnam could utilize the power of positive thinking, Peale replied, "All of life is dangerous. The danger is just increased there by the bullets. No matter where a person is, he should think positively. I believe a soldier should do everything possible to protect himself and, beyond that, put his faith in God."

As for young men facing the draft, Peale said he believed the government provides adequate freedom to become a conscientious objector.

Peale's best known book, "The Power of Positive Thinking" sold 2.5 million copies and was the nation's non-fiction best seller for more than a year in the mid-1950's. The book has been printed in 30 languages and syndicated to more than 100 newspapers.

"I built the book out of the lives of people," he explained when asked why the book was so popular. "I used simple, straightforward language to say that most people never begin to realize themselves."

"Many people live with self-doubt and are constantly building a case against themselves," lie said. "If they treated others the way they treat themselves they would be very unpopular. I believe the basic cure for this condition is a creative faith in Christianity.

"I admire a straight-shooting speaker," Peale said after he was asked about his preaching. "Sincerity is the most important element in my preaching. You must speak with conviction in your heart. You must love the congregation.

"One of the most inspiring sermons I've heard was given by an Army chaplain one Easter in Jerusalem. He stood near Christ's tomb preaching in a rough voice that conveyed his overwhelmingly sincere character. I could tell this man really believed what he was saying. As he spoke, I could almost hear the stone being rolled away from the tomb as Christ emerged to conquer death," Peale said.

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