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  Revisiting Vietnam American RadioWorks
  Vietnam Scrapbook

Ron Germundson, Vietnam veteran
St. Paul, MN, USA

I donít think I will ever forget Christmas 1968. It was hot, real hot, and red dust everywhere as I walked down highway one with the rest of my platoon heading into LZ Uplift for fresh clothes and Christmas dinner. The Christmas meal of runny mash potatoes and ham tasted better than it looked.. When I got to the end of the mess hall line, this woman handed me a big red apple, gave me a great big smile and put her arms around me and gave me a kiss! She gave everyone who came threw the line that day a apple and a kiss. I never saw her again, but I sure would like to thank her, maybe someday.

I speak in schools a lot and try to share my experiences in war with them, I tell them war isnít like the movies. I tell them that sometimes there was more shooting going on inside our firebase from our own people shooting each other than we got from the VC or NVA. I share with them that there was no World War II Veteran of Korean Veteran speaking about the realities of war in my social studies class in 1967. I feel honored speaking to all these young people, sharing my story, my feelings and sometimes my tears. I read them poetry like this


Was it a dream?
Was it really me there on the beach with Buddha?
He spoke of the bamboo that bent, forgivingly to the wind.
I was a soldier with death tucked in my pack.
Why did he pick me to cast the nets to the sea?

Was it a dream?
Standing midst the sand dunes.
Wadding through shifting sands, was this Vietnam?
Didn't my friends die as the village bell rang and rang?
Wasn't it Bulldog, who became the hero that night?
Didn't the company medic blindly shoot our own men?
After all these years, does he remember?

Was it a dream?
When Bulldog ran, crazed with fear into the paddies.
Did the priest beads he stole carry curse?
What makes a hero. Is it the direction they run?

Was it a dream?
When the little girl fell?
Which one of us was her executioner?
Why did it take twenty years for my tears to fall?
Why must I be the one to cast the nets?


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