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      Poetry from Vietnam Vets and Loved Ones      

His Woman Begs
By Diana Lee King

When I heard they were building a Wall
Honoring the Vietnam war
it made me angry, I'd protested that war.
The policy of that war, the useless deaths

So, when I first came to the city of that Wall
I did not know you
I did not want to know you
and yet you were part of me.

But, the Wall had a magnetic pull,
You had a magnetic pull,
And visit after visit to that city
Time after time you pulled me back to the Wall.

Each time I knew you more
You were my age, but you hadn't grown old.

  • At night in the dark, 58,000 voices spoke
    and I heard your mothers' crying.

    Then I met him and he told me who you were
    He told me how you had died.
    Then he came with me to visit you.
    He touched you and he cried.

    I could feel his pain as you recognized him.
    You called his name and he found you on the Wall.
    He saw your face and he saw your smile.
    He heard you die.

    The magnetic pull tried to keep him there.
    He didn't want to leave you,
    Not then or now.
    He wanted to save you, all of you or die with you.

    He is not here today, I've come alone.
    I've come to give thanks and to pray.
    I've come to speak to you.
    I've come to beg, beg you to let him go.

    So, I find your names on the Wall.
    I place a rose and tobacco beneath your names.
    It made him angry when you died.
    Did you know that he loved you?

    You must know he can't forget you.
    He cries in his sleep.
    As I kneel here. I beg you to watch his back.
    I pray to you to save him and I know you hear me.

    I say to you, he needs you, help him he's dying.
    He never forgives himself for living.
    I beg you, help him forgive himself.
    You hear me say, I love him,
    I want him to live again.
    You see this man stop beside me?
    He has asked if I have someone on the Wall.
    I say, "No, I love one of the walking dead."
    He understands, he nods and walks on.

    I know that you don't know me.
    But you hear me, you are always listening.
    They put you here to listen, you hear it all.
    And you have not forgotten.
    Yo all of you who know him and knew him to be good,
    I know now what drew me here.
    Only you can save him.
    Only you can let him live.

    Diana Lee King

What Is A Veteran
By Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, USMC
Some veterans bear visible signs of their service:
a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye.
Others may carry the evidence inside them:
a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg or perhaps another sort of inner steel:
the soul's alloy forged in the refinery of adversity.
Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America
safe wear no badge or emblem.
You can't tell a vet just by looking...

What is a vet?
He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia
sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel
carriers didn't run out of fuel.
He is the bar room loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks,
whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the
cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.

She or He - is the nurse who fought against futility
and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.

He is the POW who went away one person and came back another
or didn't come back at all.
He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat
but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account
rednecks and gang members into Marines,and teaching them to watch each other's backs.

He is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons
and medals with a prosthetic hand.
He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns,
whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve
the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized
with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunlessdeep.

He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket
palsied now and aggravatingly slow - who helped liberate a Nazi death camp
and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him
when the nightmares come.

He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being
a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the
service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so
others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness,
and he is nothing less than the finest, greatest testimony on
behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.

So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country,
just lean over and say, "Thank You". That's all most people need,
and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could
have been awarded or were awarded.

Two little words that mean a lot, "THANK YOU".
Remember Veterans Day, November 11th:
"It is the soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,Who has given us
the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag, And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protestor to burn the flag."

From A Doc's Point of View
By Doc Hutch
As a Corpsman in green and not navy blue,
I offer this poem from a Doc's point of view.
We've been honored by stories, poems and such
By Marines we have served with and respected so much.

They speak of our honor, bravery and skill,
And the cry, "Corpsman up!" still gives me a chill.
When a Marine goes down, what will it be?
A trache? Tie off bleeders? Start an IV?

Only one thing is certain as we rush to the scene,
Our ass will be covered by our brothers in green.
You see we're adopted, "Sons of the Corps".
No more "Anchors away" - "Semper Fi" evermore!

It's true when you're wounded, your life's in our hands,
And we'll treat and protect you to the very last man.
For you are our pointman, our cover, our shield,
And we count on your skills all our days in the field.

Many a grunt laid his life on the line
To make sure Doc got to the wounded in time.
So, my brothers, I thank you, as all us Docs should.
It's YOU who make us Corpsmen look good!

Semper Fi,
Doc Hutch
Alpha 1/5
2nd Platoon '68-'69 An Hoa Basin

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