Ode to a Vietnam Vet

Thought about saying this for nearly thirty years and with Memorial Day coming up I knew I would be acting on it.

I’ve continued reading at the monthly “Inspired Mic Nights” at the Beach House Beanery and loving it.  I’m reading this on Tuesday, hope everyone likes it.
Ode to a Vietnam Vet, by Gi Marie Arena

I’m Sorry.
And I know this comes too late.
Did I think back then that I would be one of many who would seal your fate?
You were a mother’s child, a sister’s brother, a brother’s brother, a woman’s husband,
a father’s son, a father.
When I think back to that time, naturally, some of it is a bit hazy.  But what is clear is
I, we, were driven by a cause,
Misguided, to say the least.
Our “make love, not war” groupies thought this foreign battle to be a slaughter on humanity,
And, not really our War.
Bottom feeders were in charge and at the helm we chanted at our sit-ins.
We marched in open protest spewing words of hate and condemnation for you and your fighting buddies.
And four of us died in Ohio.
We dubbed you war-mongers and baby killers.

But you were only following orders.
Yet, that was no excuse for those of us, and there were many, who spent our days and nights mocking the “establishment” while in the comfort of our homes,
On our school campuses,
On the unsuspecting farmer’s property in upstate New York,
On the streets of Haight-Asbury,
Sometimes passing a Doobee.
We wanted you to suffer for your sins.
So instead of honoring you and thanking you from the bottom of our hearts,
We cursed you, called you horrific names, spat on your boots, and,
No one showed up on the tarmac when you returned broken, a consequential act I, we, can never take back.
How foolish and stupidly young we were.
How wrong we were.
No, we were right to feel the war was wrong and a bureaucratic mess prolonged by the rulers on the “Hill”.
But, we were wrong to take it out on you.
We thought this jungle war and those who fought in it were scum.
So, what were we if we turned our backs on our boys who fought on the Viet Cong-violated DMZ?
Just as ruthless, and worse, to our own!
A lesson the masses have learned at your expense.
Know this, the battle that you fought at home and your pain is not in vain.
Four decades later, things are far from the same.
I, we, realize our mistake,
And, our disgust has been replaced with compassion for those who have taken your place;
A different time, A different war,
Only now, without disgrace.


One Comment on “Ode to a Vietnam Vet”

  1. tovahsez May 21, 2014 at 9:28 am #

    I so love this Gi. My husband is a vietnam vet and I will share this with him. He also had to endure the abuse of those who did not like this war and was called names.

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