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My scarlet red paint has faded to an off-white pinkish color now. My paint is cracked and the breezes have pulled some away from my wood. Most of my nails have rusted thru, and my gold lettering has become a sickly off yellow, and weeds have up around me. But, I am still here doing my job.
I proudly stand at the edge of the helicopter landing zone that every Marine had to walk by to get to the Command Center to check in. Years ago, when I was in my prime, and the grass around me was cut, or burned back, I proudly said "Welcome to L.Z. Ryder. Population Flexible. We have running water, (in season). Please watch our nightly fireworks, and enjoy the daily hunting expeditions. All our bunkers are FHA approved. ELEVATION 579 METERS." (about 1019 feet high)
Those were the good old days. The days when choppers came in two or three times a day, bringing ammunition, food, and fresh troops. Taking some Marines out so they could go home. I always said goodbye to them. We had the longest range if any Marine artillery unit in Viet Nam because we were so very high. Many days we spent wrapped in clouds, but we did our mission.
When the Marines left, I stayed. Ready to greet them when they returned. The grass grew, and the rains came, the summer heat pounded down on me, but year after year I stayed. I have to be here when they return. The landing site now instead of being metal srtips and dirt has become grass, and a few trees have begun popping up, but I know that someday the Marines will return, and I have to be ready, for I am the Greeter of Landing Zone Ryder.
I pray they come home quickly and safe. Also may they be able to leave behind and start anew. Great moving post.