Reflections of a Viet Vet

Ao Dai, didi mou, number 10.
Words from a time so long ago,
But remembered like it was yesterday.

A time of fear, a time of joy,
Of tears, of laughter,
Adrenaline rushes, and deep depression.

Youthful feelings of invincibility but knowing we could die.
Savers of the world for Democracy, and killers of babies.
Makers of deep friendships that did not survive our return to the world.

The many who went were overshadowed by the few who refused.
The tears of our loved ones were matched by the jeers of others.
We take pride in having done our duty and feel guilt for surviving.

We went off to a non-war and returned non-heroes.
How can others feel what we felt and know what we knew?
How do we know what was right, what was not?

We don't!

Instead, we keep these thoughts to ourselves.
We dress in uniforms we vowed never to wear again,
And meet our kind at memorials to our fallen.

We find strangers who shared a time, a place, a unit.
Sharing the high hand grip, a hug, and maybe tears.
And once again, if only for a moment, feel the bonds we thought we lost.

Copyright 2003 John G. Sackis