Vietnam Veterans

IT IS OUR DUTY TO REMEMBER

Only my parents said,
"Welcome home, son."
America needs the time
To heal while they try."

I Was in Nam

America! You shipped me to Nam
Right after I finished boot camp.
You ordered me to say bye
To the girl I truly liked.

Telling her the hardest goodbye
While she’s due at any time.
Going there will wreck our lives!
How am I going to survive?

Don’t you see me on my knees?
How much more can I plead?
I’ll go after seeing my baby.
“Sorry, son! Uncle Sam won’t be pleased.”

America! You rushed me out of West Point
To make my sweaty bunk bed
Ready for a green cadet;
The boot camp he’d never forget.

You gave me a hasty toast.
“Be proud and be brave!”
Lieutenant, the platoon’s on their way.
Thank you, Sir. I can hardly wait.

Lieutenant, I don’t see any VC.
Only farmers… one, two, maybe three
Keep watching! Tell me when you see
I can’t wait to kill those f***in’ Charlies.

War is the most dreadful word
Where kindness and evil can mask their face.
Humane today but tomorrow could be savage
My Lai massacre had shown such a face.

Search and Destroy were to smoke out “Charlies.”
And the bombing campaign sought to break Hanoi’s knees.
But Ho Chi Minh’s Trails had kept VC alive
To make Khe Sanh Hill the bloodiest fight.

Whenever Walter Cronkite appeared on TV
America seemed to freeze, hoping for no casualty.
Dear God, please protect our family!
On our knees, we pray to thee.

America! I know you did not expect me
To come back in one piece
Like tens of thousands of body bags
Coming home in coffins with draping flags.

But for the grace of God.
I made it home on two feet
Though my world of America
Shattered to pieces.

My girlfriend had a new man,
And my son didn’t want to speak.
So did the whole nation
Shun me for what I did?

People took to the streets
Only to call us names.
But I couldn’t tell them:
I, too, was in Nam.

Only my parents said,
“Welcome home, son.”
America needs the time
To heal while they try.”

Welcome home, soldier! At ease.

"Each weed I pull, every tear I shed, is the least I can do
To be faithful to the memories I have of each of you.
The loss and pain I bear are the prices of surviving.
Wouldn't it be worthier had I also died in the battle fight?"

Semper Fidelis

I am a Vietnam vet who wishes to be “Always Faithful.”
Being here with my fallen brothers, I received an earful.
They whispered in my ear as I fondled their names.
I felt their comfort, “The loss is greater for those who remain.”

Dying for our country, our brothers, for what is right
Nothing is nobler and worthier to sacrifice.
Living each day with the pain, the horror, the memory;
It is much harder for us whose names are on “The Wall” – to see.

“Each weed I pull, every tear I shed, is the least I can do
To be faithful to the memories I have of each of you.
The loss and pain I bear are the prices of surviving.
Wouldn’t it be worthier had I also died in the battle fight?”

I will not betray your memory or neglect the Memorial’s care
It’s the reason I must come down from my wheeling chair
To get my hands dirty so I can reclaim my dignity
For each of you who gave it all, so others can live theirs free.

You have gone to a place where suffering ends,
Leaving us who remain bearing our battle wounds that never mend.
The Vietnam War had ended, but we are always our brothers’ keepers.
My name won’t be on this Wall, but abandoning you – Never!

###

I was seeing Dennis B. – a U.S. Marine who lost both legs in the Vietnam War, participating in the Annual Memorial Spring Cleaning on April 6, 2021. Instantly, I snapped a photo of him as it was such a sentimental and heart-wrenching moment to see a disabled Marine expressing his Semper Fidelis. I felt the presence of the 648 names on “The Wall,” who also uttered, “poor Dennis!”

In tribute to all who gave their lives for our freedom

The Vietnamese American Community of Philadelphia
Jim Huynh – April 6, 2021