I was indeed honored to be among these men...even though I was not
wounded. I felt very
mundane in the company of men such as these. I had managed to contract Tuberculosis while working with the Vietnamese. I guess I was special to be allowed to be with those honorable men.
We didn't ask to go to war. We didn't hide behind some legal trick to avoid our obligation to our country. We did ask to live in a country called America and were willing to offer our hand in keeping it clean and safe for all...not just what we thought was right and proper. We literally offered our lives!
Whatever your beliefs were back then, I hope with all my heart that you have seen things more in proper perspective and will give your fellow Americans the benefit of a doubt before ever judging them so harshly again. No hand out is necessary. No treatment of any kind other than common decency and understanding is sought. 58,000+ were lost in a land that was unforgiving. I would bet that more than that same amount have taken their lives as a result of the treatment received by our "friends and loved ones" since the war that was not a war.
All we seek is understanding.
Trouble is, we don't understand everything that went on nor do we have the courage to dig into the past we have so carefully buried.
Thirty years is a long time to live with a guilt that wasn't ours but was placed
on our backs like a pack. To my brothers who are still around, Welcome Home.
To those who have gone before us and those who follow, America made a terrible mistake.
America will be forgiven and we will live and die for the right to be able to make
Thirty years is a long time to wait to be told :
To all those who felt it necessary to throw dog poop at us,
to spit upon the wounded who walked off the plane and those carried off
I dedicate this short poem I read in Leatherneck Magazine. You, who would
ridicule us and tell us how to live but have never walked in our shoes, never
felt our pain and never held your finger against your buddy's arteries trying
to stem the flow of life sustaining blood that was draining so rapidly; it is
to you this is dedicated:
You could call them throwaway heroes
For this has been their lot,
A long way from their war days, when
Their cry was "Give all you've got."
They were there when they were needed,
Always faithful to the Corps,
Dedicated to their country;
We couldn't have asked for more.
Now discarded one-time heroes
Find they're jobless and heartsore;
Once the object of our passions,
They're shamelessly ignored.
Some have joined the scores of homeless
Who are spread throughout the land;
It's time that they're acknowledged
And receive our helping hand.