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Peter Braestrup, former war correspondent, dies at 68

August 12, 1997

ROCKPORT, Maine (AP) _ Peter Braestrup, who covered the Vietnam war for The Washington Post and The New York Times, died of a heart attack while vacationing on the Maine coast. He was 68.

Braestrup, who had been the Library of Congress’ senior editor and director of communications since 1989, died Sunday at the Penobscot Bay Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Since retiring from daily journalism in 1975, he participated on several panels that studied the media’s role on the battlefield. Before his journalism career, he had served as a Marine officer in Korea.

At a 1995 meeting of journalists and soldiers sponsored by the Freedom Forum, he and other reporters said the daily demands of covering Vietnam left little time to contemplate the meaning of the war.

``I can’t recall an evening dinner (in Vietnam) where people at the table questioned, why are we in Vietnam?″ he said. ``Those questions seemed awfully abstract to us.″

Braestrup worked for Time magazine as a contributing editor and roving reporter in the late 1950s, and later moved to the New York Herald Tribune.

In 1960, he joined the Washington bureau of The New York Times, then became a correspondent for the newspaper in Paris, in North Africa where he covered the Algerian revolution, and in Thailand, where he covered the fighting in Vietnam.

He was Saigon bureau chief for The Washington Post during 1968-69.

In addition to his wife, Sandra Newing, he is survived by his mother, a sister, two daughters, a son, two stepdaughters, two stepsons, seven grandchildren and eight stepgrandchildren.

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