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I hope this causes no hard times for anyone. If it does, then you have my most profound apologies. It is rather long
AND I SERVED WITH PRIDE
I left a boy, I'll return a man,
The day I landed in Vietnam.
There's a stench in the air--smells like death.
A smell I'll have with every breath.
The heat is oppressive, hot as hell,
A breeze blows across, Oh GOD, Here's that smell
"Get on the truck," the sergeant did shout,
Grab a duffle bag, soldier, and move out.
Wide-eyed and scared, full of fear,
I'll write home to Mom and tell her I'm here.
And hope she'll say a daily prayer.
I hope to GOD that He'll be fair.
And let me go home when my tour is through
I turn to my buddy and ask, "How about you?
"One year from today we'll catch the freedom bird."
A sigh of relief is almost heard.
"Get off the truck, with your gear in hand.
Welcome troops, you're now in Vietnam!
If I live to be a hundred and two,
I'll remember this day, how about you?
Oh, GOD! I'm scared as hell
Here comes that dreaded awful smell.
I get to m,y unit and I'm issued my gear.
I pray to GOD, "Let me survive this year."
Tommorrow's the day, I'm going to the field,
I ask myself, " Is this for real?'
The sergeant says, "Saddleup! Grab your ruck sack,
Take your bag and baggage, put it on your back.
We're going to meet the little man,
Remember, you are in Vietnam."
We slog through the mud, the jungle and such,
But always within the radio's touch.
Ahead, I hear a rifle crack,
The point man says, " I've made contact."
We deploy, spread out, on a scrimmage line,
"Oh GOD! I hope it's not my time."
We're taking fire, we're under attack,
The bullets whiz, the rifles crack.
It's an ambush! An ambush---a grunt's real dread,
Only thoughts of surviving race through my head.
Did I chamber a round? Did I lock and load?
Oh, GOD, I wish I wasn't here on this road.
I hit the ground, roll off to the side,
My heart is thumping, I'm churning inside.
I slip my arms from the straps of my pace,
Gotta lighten this load upon my back.
From the "Vill", the little man is bringing smoke,
He's kicking our tails, radio silence is broke.
The Captain calls for extraction, or some relief,
Through the cussin and prayin, the gnashing of teeth.
Cries of agony and pain permeate the place,
There's a look of dispair on every face.
"Where the hell's all that fire coming from?"
"There's the smoke! I see the ****!"
At that, we redirect our fire,
We dump everthing, and we vent our ire.
The artillery sitting back over the hill,
Is given the order to level the "Vill"
The artillery acknowledges the last command,
Replies back, "men put your faces in the sand."
Through the smoke and the dust, the big shells rain,
In the back of my mind, I'm haunted again.
Oh, GOD! I'm scaredas hell,
Here comes that dreaded awful smell.
The fire fight is over, a strange mood about,
The silence is broken by the Sergeants shout,
"Gotta get me a nose count. Now regroup.
Hey! wake up soldier. Come here troop."
The count is taken, the point man dead,
Of his courage and bravery, much could be said.
He was a fine young man, left a baby and wife.
Too bad he had to give his life.
My tour goes on, always the same,
The only change is the place and the name.
Dong Ha, Tay Ninh, Trang Bang, Anh Ke,
Dong Tam, Phu Bae, Cu Chi, Song Ba.
As the time goes on, as it did begin,
I can see my tour come to an end.
I've seen many die while in combat,
I know the meaning of life, I know where it's at.
I have had this thought, many times absurd,
Tommorrow I catch the freedom bird.
To fly home to the "world" to Mom and Dad,
How many times this dream I've had?
Oh GOD, I'm scared, scared as hell,
Here comes that awful dreaded smell.
Well, they gave me some medals, some "I've been theres"
But as I go to the "world" I wonder who cares.
Bout all I gave, when I got my call,
Bout all I gave, damn near gave my all.
With gravel in my gut, a tear in my eye,
I bid my buddies a fond, last goodbye.
With duffle bag in hand, I turnon my heel,
GOD, it's hard to describe how I feel.
The highs and lows, the joys and tears,
The bravery, the sadness, the laughter and tears.
I jump in the jeep' with not even a word,
Mom's daily prayers were surely heard.
I went to do what i had to do,
carry the torchof freedom of RED,WHITE AND BLUE.
I ask not a thing from any man,
but accept me now. Here, shake my hand.
Once and for all, put me to rest,
I gave my country my very best.
Help me heal these wounds, festering deep inside,
I've served my time, and I served with pride.
Oh GOD! I'm scared, still scared as hell,
Can I now forget that awful smell
Love the poem. So sad, but so true. America thanks every Viet Nam veteran. We may not have said it then, but we're saying it now: THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DID. FREEDOM IS NOT FREE!