You're so young as you fight, Guns in your arms, Trying so hard to make the world right, Heading off to war trying to be calm.
Heads held high, Guns go off - so do alarms, Fear around you, Nightmares haunt you in later years, You cry so often - big bloody tears.
All of brave ones dead and gone, You held your best friend while he died in your arms.
All the memories swim your head, Rest now and don't despair.
Shit thrown at you in the towns, A war hero hits the ground!
Be at peace - your peace is found.
By: Kirsten V.G. Fisher
The black plastic stock against my cheek Reminds me of the Mattel Thompson of my youth Playing war games With the neighborhood kids - hide and seek...
Ten years later I'm popping caps Colts's version of Mattel - the M16 But this war is no game to play The dead stay dead They don't return to play another day...
I make it easy pretending to be hunting deer Home in the woods of North East Pa. Deer have no faces they have no names...
The months have passed I'm home at last The opening day of deer hunting at last The trophy in my sights The slow exhale of breath And the ever gentle squeeze of trigger...
The stag buck raises his head and shows off the rack I hesitate and pull back the bolt And let the unspent round Fall to the ground...
I shall never hunt again - for the deer now have faces They now have names...
by: John Mowatt
You gave all you could give No one could give more Because of that I'm here and . . .You're gone.
You were called to serve You were proud to go Maybe a little scared But prepared to do . . .What you must.
High hopes and big dreams You carried with you To the faraway land Across the sea . . .Leaving me.
Then the telegram arrived Your hopes and dreams Were gone with you Left over there . . .With mine.
Now, twenty years later I stand here with tears Remembering You did your job . . .You gave it all.
The glimmer from the sun Reflects into my eyes I see your face Smiling at me . . .Behind your name On The Wall.
By: Tonya Gross
The small and gentle touch of delicate fingers faintly but irresistibly call me to the Wall. I recall in the year past, which seems so long ago when my mom, wife and son came and called me to this same Wall. Even after all this time, the dewdrops on the Wall still remind me of the tears of happiness that I shed that day.
Today, the call is not quite as strong and as I near the Wall, I can see a small child and woman kneeling by the Wall and touching my name that is forever engraved into this cold black granite. As I move slowly and hesitantly towards the Wall, I think that this must be some kind of mistake. I near and hear the child mention something to the effect of “grand-dad” and I instantly think, "Could this be my son's wife with my grand-child?"
The feelings of a year's past suddenly return as I look into the face of my grand child and daughter in law. Time has passed, life carries on and the emotions are again awakened that have not yet been forgotten.
I long to hold and cherish the delicate body of my grand child. I long to hug and thank my daughter in law for allowing me the time to share in their world. I long to be able to ask questions, share emotions or just for a moment experience a loving touch that does not have to shared by a wall of granite. My destiny denies all of these longings but I am still grateful for these short visits with the “real” world.
I am still able to feel the delicate little fingers through the cold stone. And as she reaches for her Mom, a combined force between the three of us, sends a message of love and the other side of the wall grows slick with the dampness of my tears, that are only considered coming from the humidity in the air. The frustration of not being able to physically touch this new part of my family is overwhelming but I'm still grateful that I've been allowed to share even this much. I am only hopeful that children such as this one will realize the true meaning of war and the effects of having known of someone that had participated…
...I am not forgotten as so many others that stand along with me behind this Wall.
I yell and bring attention to myself,
..... "WE ARE NOT FORGOTTEN" .....
These are our grandchildren and they REMEMBER with the help of those that shared and have suffered the effects of Vietnam and our plight to keep the memories alive.
..... "COME ALL!" .....
and see the next generation that will REMEMBER as we THANK THEM FOR REMEMBERING. Let us rejoice and make "Old Glory", our proud Stars and Stripes stand straight out and proclaim our allegiance and Support for our Nation that we sacrificed so much for………
I hesitantly go back to my place as my daughter in law and grandchild prepare to leave and can only pray that the coming year will bring me and so many others the assurances that we have not been forgotten, ...
... and again our gathering numbers repeat over and over again ...
..... "Thanks for Remembering" .....
..... "Thanks for Remembering" .....
until our next meeting.
by: Patrick "Beanie" Camunes
Death be sincere When You walk past my door You needn't hide Your ways to me I've seen Your face before I've watched You hover among The Old To Wait and Torment And turn them cold I've listened as You uncovered The cowardly face While You let some stand taller In bravery's grace You're slow, You're fast You're cruel, You're kind Then at times when You arrive You refrain But I beg that when You come to me I don't care how or why or when I ask you Death, to ease my soul ......Don't let me die in vain
by: D.L. OxFord
Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond's glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there. I did not die.
The Lord looked down upon His earth.
He watched many lives being lived, and witnessed many births.
Then The Lord noticed that there was something wrong Soldiers left behind and forgotten for so long!
Some were still alive, others buried and long gone. All had been deserted; left to fight on all alone; rejected by their country, a country they'd called home. They'd fought with pride and honor! Why was nothing being done?
The Lord saw this and He began to weep. His tears soaked into the hearts of those whose love flowed deep. His tears eased the pain and sorrow of those who the endless vigil kept, and nurtured hearts and minds as in their lonliness they wept.
As His tears dropped, a man was at The Wall.
He looked up into the sky felt the sorrow in those drops. He knelt over and he wept, at his silent vigil spot.
The rain kept on falling, but he didn't see the rain. He saw one special teardrop for each who'd suffered pain. He keenly sensed the forgotten ones who'd been left behind alone in mental cages, felt the rain containing great and wondrous love. And knew his silent Vigil helped ease tortured hearts and pain.
By: DJ Proton
Your father wouldn't come. He stopped and turned away when he saw this Black Wall saying your name.
They have an index here, like a telephone book, and I found your name right away, although I was in no hurry.
As others huddle in whispers, I walk alone and listen to a wall saturated with endings.
There, there is your name. The lettering is precise. The spelling, accurate.
You are placed exactly when you died, between these thousands of others.
Excellent records were kept for those of us here, as if this proves this war was correct after all.
I still worry. Your father shakes his head when I say I pray our son was not a virgin.
The crowd on the Wall speaks, their voices roar into a war cry that only I hear.
Their words can't be distinguished no matter how hard I listen for just your voice.
Do all parents come here to hang by their fingertips from the chiseled names they had chosen at birth?
by: Pamela Basurto
I stand here at this granite wall And think of the good old days When all we did on summer days Was sit around or play ball
We graduated from high school We worked a year or two Then Uncle Sam replaced our jobs And M-16s became our tool
I went to the Airborne You chose the Artillery Molly said good bye to you While Jenny cried 'til morn
We were young and shining heroes To the folks we left behind We were going to fight for peace For a people we didn't know
We came into this foreign land A green and naïve bunch And left with different feelings That no one could understand
We both came home a different sort And will never be the same Since you arrived in a long pine box And I arrived as your escort
They buried you on that Friday And all your friends were there Some visit you very often Some visit you every day
It's not the same without you I can't expect it to be But I never will forget What we gave away we, two
I stand here at this granite wall And think of the good old days When all we did on summer days Was sit around or play ball
by: Bob Staranowicz
The lanky lad from northern town stepped onto southern soil. Alighting from a battered bus into the midday boil.
His reception wasn't friendly the greeting scorched the air. "Line up you f-----g Yankees" he heard a corporal swear.
The sweat froze on his forehead he didn't blink an eye. The sand fleas feasted on his neck his skin began to fry.
The town was Beaufort-by-the-Sea the boy thought it was hell. Across the channel, Parris Isle beckoned him to dwell.
Upon its hostile burning sand for eternity it seemed. Oh, what a sad mistake he made this wasn't what he dreamed.
He marched and drilled on sandy soil his flesh turned hard and lean. And when the moon went down at last he emerged, a proud marine.
by: Raymond Le Rendu
DAYS FOR GUY
I VISITED "THE WALL" TODAY
Wake up, America you don't even know you're asleep You sent men off to a distant land, your honor for to keep.
Fifty-eight thousand fought and died, but all were not brought home, Won't you accept responsibility and help us set them free?
Many have died from Agent Orange, the cancer tells the tale, Others suffer from Post Traumatic Stress, wonder why they end up in jail,
Wake up, America, you don't even know you're asleep, You sent men off to a distant land, your honor for to keep.
In training we never heard the words defeat, we were willing to give all, We fought beside men, brave and true, watched many a comrade fall.
You tied our hands, you lost the war, then we received the blame. Don't you owe us anything? We suffered in your name.
Wake up, America you don't even know you're asleep. You sent men off to a distant land, your honor for to keep.
BY: Ray A. Banks
Joseph Guy LaPointe, Jr. Conscientious Objector and Combat Medic was killed in action 2 June 1969 in the Republic of Viet Nam
May 1968 Fort Sam Houston, Texas
You held hands with Kansas City for too long, and the Cumberland in Summer breathed though your lungs to make Ohio your skin - so much that when the government papers came, confining you to Texas and the Army your eyes wanted Dayton so much that they couldn't cry. Still, you sang. You said Canada was foreign to you, and Nova Scotia ran Autumn in your veins. You wouldn't turn North to Freedom.
27 August 1968 Three-day Pass
Leaving San Antonio we rode north to Dallas, and on that road, drinking wine, you named the birds, the plants, the small animals for me-- I listened as you read the land, and when you sang, it was the same: your gentle love sang in your voice and strumming hands. Later, when you called all the way from Dallas to your pregnant wife your eyes were gone to Dayton in Ohio, watching her grow. You were too innocent for honesty.
4 November 1968 Oakland Army Depot
Beyond the green warehouse the politician's words that kill and flag that files an unkept promise brushed on your skin. The touch was lost. America was not theirs it was not there. We followed the taped red line and left our baggage in the dark.
November 1968 San Francisco AWOL
In that stolen time we stood on Ocean Beach while you taught me other songs to sing, saying you wouldn't mind the coming year-- next Fall would be here soon. I didn't want to take you from that place where you stood throwing stones at the sky, but words were raging from the capitals of the world and the killing time was coming.
12 November 1968 Bien Hoa, RVN
Leaning on the sandbags that cased the wooden and wire-screened hooch beside the bomber's locking radar station we read each other's orders, smoking. They were all words and numbers then, and we spoke only of memories. I copied your address and lost it.
2 June 1969 Hue, RVN
I watched the wide river from by bunker top while the pric 25 stoned my radio ears telling me in static rasps that a dying time was near-- I thought it was my own. Tomorrow we would relieve the Second of the Seventeenth Cavalry. It was all words and numbers.
October 1969 America
In Kansas, the wheat and corn have been harvested, shipped and sold, the wild geese are escaped South and soon the snows will cover the Dakotas and Wyoming. I want to hear you sing this Winter coming on. The sun burns southward. Voices stall through the capitals and fade in the air-- but in America who is left to name those small animals moving through the snow, or tell the histories of each brittle weed standing frozen in the wind?
by: Frank B. Smith
I visited "The Wall" today Not knowing what to expect. It's only a wall with names, Not with a face or words to say...
The names were almost endless, Fifty-Eight thousand plus. The visitors were fathers, sons, Friends and us...
My son stood closely, As I carefully touched the stone. My hands were shaking as I realized, Some never may come home...
A young girl left a note, It said: “Thank you for your sacrifice, I love you. Sincerely, Me." A young girl visited "TheWall" today...
As my son watched, I cried, I couldn't speak...
For honor and reverence Of those who died For me...
I visited “The Wall” today, Not knowing what to expect Thank you for serving and dying, For me and the rest…
Sgt. Brian Stuttler
...after a visit to "The Wall" this past summer...
Medal of Honor Citation
JOSEPH GUY LA POINTE JR
Specialist Fourth Class, U.S. Army 2d Sqn, 17th Cav, 101st Airborne Division. Place and Date: Quang Tin province, Republic of Vietnam, 2 June 1969. Entered Service at: Cincinnati, Ohio. Born: 2 July 1948, Dayton, Ohio.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4c. Lapointe, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2d Squadron, distinguished himself while serving as a medical aidman during a combat helicopter assault mission. Sp4c. Lapointe's patrol was advancing from the landing zone through an adjoining valley when it suddenly encountered heavy automatic weapons fire from a large enemy force entrenched in well fortified bunker positions. In the initial hail of fire, 2 soldiers in the formation vanguard were seriously wounded. Hearing a call for aid from 1 of the wounded, Sp4c. Lapointe ran forward through heavy fire to assist his fallen comrades. To reach the wounded men, he was forced to crawl directly in view of an enemy bunker. As members of his unit attempted to provide covering fire, he administered first aid to 1 man, shielding the other with his body. He was hit by a burst of fire from the bunker while attending the wounded soldier. In spite of his painful wounds, Sp4c. Lapointe continued his lifesaving duties until he was again wounded and knocked to the ground. Making strenuous efforts, he moved back again into a shielding position to continue administering first aid. An exploding enemy grenade mortally wounded all 3 men. Sp4c. Lapointe's courageous actions at the cost of his life were an inspiration to his comrades. His gallantry and selflessness are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
I no longer feel the warmth of day on my skin, nor do I feel any pain from my wounds. Though they continue, I cannot hear the sounds of exploding grenades and automatic weapons fire. I no longer smell the pungent aroma from the meal that was prepared only minutes before.
My sergeant, SFC John T. Ropple, is preparing me for extraction. Actually, he is preparing my body for extraction. He and several Regional Forces soldiers pick up my body from where it lay, and they carry it to a clearing about 300 yards from the ambush site. I only weigh 150 pounds, but they struggle and strain because they are very tired. I want to help them, but I cannot. They reach the clearing and set me down. John radios a request for a support helicopter. The helicopter approaches. As John pops smoke to mark the landing zone, the Viet Cong open fire. The same Viet Cong who ambushed us have pursued them to the landing zone. John waves off the helicopter because the LZ is too hot. A short time later, two helicopter gunships arrive and lay down some suppressing fire, enabling the support helicopter to land. They carry my body to the helicopter, where a crewman waits in the open doorway. He helps pull me aboard, and the helicopter quickly takes off.
It was a short flight to the 12th Evacuation Hospital at Cu Chi. A Marine Corps doctor–Captain Michael A. Wanchick–examines my remains and pronounces my death. He notes the cause as “Missile Wound to Head” and records the time as “1700 hours, 16 October 1970.” I was just getting used to thinking of my former self as “a body,” and now they are referring to it as “the remains.” Hey, there is my sergeant! He is up on his feet, but he does not look very good. John stayed on the ground after I left, and worked with the helicopter gunships. He is physically and mentally exhausted. He feels bad about what happened. He keeps telling himself that he did everything possible to keep his lieutenant alive. He really did do everything possible, but he does not believe it. I want to comfort John and tell him not to worry, but I cannot. The doctors keep him overnight for observation.
It is morning now. My remains are moved down the road to the mortuary in Saigon. They arrive at 9:30am. This place is a real production shop, and the workers are very busy, but they are professional and respectful. They fingerprint me and then compare the prints to some I had made back in June, just in case something like this happened. They inspect my teeth and compare them to my dental records by means of a dental chart. My remains are going to be viewable, so I guess they want to make sure it is really me. They also do some repair work on my wounds. The name of the gentleman doing the work is James L. Hobgood. He’s a civilian. James came to Vietnam all the way from Oklahoma to help the American boys on their last trip home. They are also processing a lot of paperwork today.
It is morning again...October 18, 1970. James begins a preserving process at 8:00am. By 10:30am, the process is complete and I am ready to go. However, the mortuary personnel have more paperwork to process, teletype messages to send, and transportation to arrange. I learned that I was not the only American who died in Southeast Asia on October 16, 1970. There were eight of us–seven soldiers and one marine. I outrank all but one of them, but that is just a matter of record. Rank did not matter before, except when it was necessary to get a job done, and it certainly does not matter now. Moreover, to prove it, here we are in alphabetical order without our rank! From the Marine Corps, there was Ernest Daniel Cardwell of Concord, Virginia. From the Army there was Dominic John De Angelis of New York City; Wilfredo Galivan-Torres of Ponce, Puerto Rico; Stephen Edward Jesko of Hereford, Texas; John Dewey Livingston of Red Creek, New York; me of course; David Alan Moore of Lafayette, Indiana; Robert Thomas Wilson of Dothan, Alabama.
The next day, October 19, 1970, they place my remains in a container, called a traffic case, and load it onto an Air Force C-141 transport plane that is bound for Kadena AFB in Okinawa. I am not alone, however. Two other traffic cases are loaded onto the plane. They contain the remains of Wilfredo and John. Wilfredo and I were Roman Catholic and John was a Methodist. All three of us were Infantrymen, and we shared the same casualty status: “hostile,” “ground,” and “gun, small arms fire.” Wilfredo and John both were 20 years old. Both were killed in the Binh Thuy Province. Both received posthumous promotions. John, a draftee, arrived in Vietnam on March 19, 1970. Wilfredo, an enlistee, arrived in Vietnam on August 31, 1970. My traffic case is labeled “NR 457,” which will mainly be of interest to the Chief of Support Services at Dover AFB, because my case contains all three of our fingerprint charts. The plane departs around 1:00pm and heads for Kadena. It arrives at 5:45pm, but this flight is bound for Oakland, not Dover, so we are off-loaded to a different C-141, which departs Kadena around 10:00pm.
My remains arrive at Dover AFB at 9:00am on October 21, 1970. If the U.S. Army Mortuary at Saigon was big, the port of entry mortuary at Dover is huge. It is busier, too, but the staff here are just as professional and respectful. My remains are reprocessed for identification. They are cosmetized. The name of the gentleman doing the work is Howard W. Atwell. Howard, like James Hobgood back in Saigon, is a civilian. My remains are dressed in a U.S. Army officer’s uniform with appropriate rank insignia and decorations. They are placed in a metal casket. More paperwork is processed, and logistical plans are communicated to concerned parties.
It is now October 23, 1970. My remains were transported from Dover AFB to McGuire AFB in Wrightstown, New Jersey, and then to the civilian airport in Philadelphia. My escort has arrived. His name is 1LT William E. Dobbs, and he is assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Devens in Ayer, Massachusetts. Bill supervises the loading of my remains onto an Eastern Airlines plane, and he boards the plane himself. We will be traveling together from this point on. The plane departs Philadelphia at 5:05pm. It is scheduled to arrive at Bradley Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, at 5:57pm.
I have been so caught up in all of the attention being paid to me, that it has just occurred to me that I am going home. My family…my fiancée…my friends...they are all waiting for me to arrive. Their lives have been shattered. I wish I could tell them that I love them, and that they should not worry about me, but I cannot."