Mike Brehm, Vietnam veteran
morgantown, wv, usa
I just missed Woodstock in my life,Jimmy Hendrix and the gang,
I missed the wave of hippies as Janis Joplin sang.
I was searching for a following,unbeknownst there was a gathering
of restless souls emerging from the anxious cries of freedom.
I was middle America,not yet awoken from my cacoon to realize I
was feeding the flames of death and destruction that war and hate create.
As I sit and cry for the ways I went,and the ways I did not go,
I just missed Woodstock in my life,instead I went to war.
Before I went I pondered what
My feelings were inside my gut.
Like most things I do I wasn't prepared
For the experience that would srtip me bare.
I thought that like the wall, I too,
Was a piece of granite through and through.
The statue started the uneasiness to soar,
The three men replete with the tools of war.
They looked upon the smooth stoney mass,
As if hallowed ground we soon would pass.
We then progressed on our trek of horror,
The path that millions had seen before.
Letters o'plenty encompassed the site,
Arranged to decipher deaths grip on our might.
There were so many names, and so little time,
It confused and bewildered and baffled the mind.
The memories, both good and bad that they be,
Harrangued and cajoled and played tricks on my psyche.
Then the guilt began churning deep from within,
That I too was a part of the ultimate sin.
My buddies and pals are listed up there,
And they were somebody's husband, brother, son, or father.
The guilt fed ideas of why them and not me?
Shot down in their prime, and forever will be.
I, like the others, came in search of a name,
An MIA, last I heard, a friend, and a man.
We looked for his name in this tattered old book,
That we held like a Bible, revered and mistook.
When we found his name, I knew the end of the road
Hda come to the one that we called Matejov.
I had not shed a tear of remorse ever since,
The paddy fields I had left about fifteen years hence.
Well, I made it back as far as the statues that day,
Before emotions of the moment were too large to delay.
I hugged onto my sister for comfort and strength,
As I burst into tears that wallowed like rain.
I thank you Great Wall that man has erected
To replace the young men that man has ejected,
For giving me the chance to deal with the wrong,
To heal the old wounds that had festered too long.