This Is A Place Of Remembrance
Put the machine gun on the knoll find cover at best
Remember the VC are supposed to be coming from the northwest.
Get the claymores out and the flares on a wire
Make sure you have a field of fire.
O.K. remember we will have the element of surprise
Men just wanted you to know Im proud of all you guys.
Wait quietly and dont move around
Keep low and close to the ground.
Sarge. This seems like it would be all wrong
Youve been here longer than me could the brass have been fooled by the Viet Cong?
I guess well know soon now
Set some more guys at the rear anyhow.
The night was hot and humid and full of those pesky mosquitoes
Sarge and I have been together for 3 months now, our opinion always gets a veto.
I have learned to trust this old man of thirty-one years
And maybe he has learned to respect this kid of 20 still wet behind the ears.
Here we sit just waiting for what is to come
Not a sound did we make but my legs are getting numb.
We have been here for what seems like days
But not a thing have we seen through this night fog and haze.
When we thought that nothing was about
From our rear, came gunfire and a shout.
We wheeled to face the enemy force
Many more than we though of course.
The intelligence given was, as Sarge and I feared
Charlie was coming from just the opposite from where we were told he would appear.
We held our own and put up a good fight
But I lost four brave brothers that night.
Now their names are on a black wall
Im now hard pressed their names to recall.
But the faces and the things they done
Was worthy of heros each and everyone.
Those four were the first to take the hit
The enemy stuck hard and after 30 minutes quit.
Why did I make it home?
When so many died alone.
A question I have ask myself for many years
And the answer has evaded me with many tears.
On June 16 or there about
Four more left us in this one bout.
No one can answer the question for me it seems
But I still see their faces in my dreams.
Surely some good came of that awful war
If only at some point to make sure there are no more.
©David R. Alexander
June 14, 2003
All Rights Reserved
Night is coming,so many hours till dawn
The darktime is ruled by restlessness
It`s unruly reared head will not bow
Praying, God,some rest,and now,
with the closing of my eyes, at last,
.....dismissing the scenes of the day
Slumber now ,for I have done my best
Pray for dreamless sleep ,much needed rest
Who knows what will come the `morrow,
to blend my happiness with my sorrow,
a semblence of life ,to temper the dying,
.....testing the silence with it`s screams
Awake not, sleep on,these many years past
Tis only a remembered nightmare opera,
heard only by me, alone, in my mind,
a memory imprinted as on an old record
and always playing nightly, for me alone,
.....the young voices still calling.....
©Faye Sizemore 6/15/03
Fear Not Death
Oh peaceful sleep what a wonderful adventure
No more dreams of the past or dread of the future
To dream of beauty and rest
At death you have reached the crest.
To lie in peaceful harmony
To await no further agony.
At last to meet those of which you have dreamed
The ones at night of which you have screamed.
Death not to fear
Just the final part of life, one to revere.
Not a chance of return
Nor would one for that to yearn.
At last to be at rest
With those of which you knew best.
Brothers and family of long ago
When will life let us go?
No morbid thoughts do I reveal
For at times this is just how I feel.
We all will travel this way
For on this earth we cannot stay.
But to long for the feeling of relief
Is natural to some that suffer grief.
Fell no pity for the writer of this verse
For within the days to come remember it could have been worse.
Rather look with fond remembrance of he that pass
And know that peace he has found at last.
Oh he will live from day to day
For a while on this earth he must stay.
Brothers of war lives lost so long ago
Up to meet them he also must go.
With friendship and love from God above
Surely then he will find peace and eternal love.
©David R. Alexander
June 15, 2003
All Rights Reserved
To each his own:
Good news bad news scenario, good news is that the Captain survived
the evening chow; bad news is we moved out at first light. We
entered deeper into the jungles in and around Cam Lo. As ordered we
formed skirmish lines that seemed to stretch hundreds of yards to
the left and right. Everything was copasetic during this sweep `til
the brush got so thick you couldn't spot the guy next to you. Ears
were fine-tuned and listening for the scraping of bushes to the
point of bleeding, the last thing ya wanted was to be separated from
the line or even worse end up heading in the wrong direction. Once
in a while all ya could hear was the knock of a gunstock and we
would go down on one knee and wait rifles at the ready. Waiting was
the hardest part cause if we were down something was up. The
thoughts that go ripping through yer mind during these times was
enough to scare the bejesus out of Jack The Ripper himself. I think
the mind has a nasty sense of humor the way it does a body wrong. It
isn't bad enough stumbling around deep in the shit sweating bullets
while wishing the two-ounce mosquitoes would just airlift ya outta
there. But now every sound turned into a black pajama clad Viet Cong
division wanting to take your head off. Eyes darting frantically up,
down, left and right hoping someone friendly has got your back.
Minutes seemed like hours and then Knock, knock we're up again
moving slow and steady into the AO. Took a deep breath and a sigh of
relief when I saw my fellow sojourner again. I'd have hugged `em if
it wouldn't have been bad etiquette but they frowned on that sort of
thing then and it was a good way to get shot by friendly fire.
Marines were a tight unit but a Nod of the head and the full bird
salute went just as far, if ya know what I mean.
We plundered our way deeper and deeper into boonies stopping every
once in a while `til the order was given again given to move out.
The bush was starting to thin out a bit and was similar to walking
into a forest more than that a jungle. In a weird way it sort of
reminded me of some of the deep woods in Vermont that I used to go
hunting in. Looking up could actually see blue-sky openings above
the canopy. Lulled me into a false sense of security and peace.
Decent trees, green patches of ground, woodsy smell which was a
whole helluva lot better than the fish heads and rice we were
smelling last night. Thinking about that tree stand in the autumn of
the year, drifting into lala-land full boar when the shot rang out
from nowhere whistling through paradise. Now either Deer have
evolved into hunting machines with the superb ability to camouflage
and snipe or I really was in Vietnam fighting a war. Seeing no
visible antlers in the trees I succumbed to the reality that there
was a sniper in the vicinity. The Line went down to the prone
position and we waited. See what dreaming does for ya, here I go
again having to kick myself in the buttocks. Live and learn hell.
Another shot rang out zipping through the trees above us. Silence
broken once again and hearts pounding inside your head like a
jackhammer gone postal, most certainly has a way of awakening your
senses to maximum efficiency. We waited. No telling where the sniper
was. We had been fortunate so far as no casualties were reported
down the line. One fire team was getting a fix on the general
vicinity; still everyone was edgy as hell. I can't begin to explain
to you what it feels like to be shot at and being helpless as a fish
out of water. No one dared to move and I think some even stopped
breathing for fear of exposing themselves to the sniper. Talk about
white as a ghost, hell some of `em including myself were white as a
haint and, a couple of `em were Soul Brothers. Laugh if ya want but
I was only four months into the Nam and finding out that life's
experiences are starting to suck big-time. Crack! Another shot rips
through the silence but this time a squad of Marines stood up and
started tearing the shit out of the tree tops with M-14s, M-79's and
an M-60. All hell was breaking loose and all you could see was
branches and foliage dancing in the distance. Puff the Magic Dragon
had nothing over on these bad sumbitches and they were giving it all
they had for what seemed like 15 minutes of pure firepower. Silence
again. Smoke filled the air, some scurrying around by the powers
that be. Nothing moved. No more sniper shots rang out for 30 minutes
or so. I figure that sniper was duly impressed with our massive
display of treetop trimming technology or, he couldn't believe the
balls these guys had and the sniper left while he still had his.
Course there was an outside chance that the sniper died of lead
poisoning or worse. Either way this learning curb was over and we
moved on looking for a place to set up a perimeter defense before
darkness set in.
By the way, remember that helpless a fish outta water line I gave ya
a while ago? Well it hit home like a ton of bricks, cause I reckon
that's the way Bambi feels when wandering through the woods and some
one with a 306 drops `em like a bad habit from 20' in the air. Been
hunting a couple of times since I've been back to the world and I
used to sport a bumper sticker that said.." I love animals, they
taste good " But I take no pleasure in it anymore. I'm not a Bambi
hugger and If ya hunt for food that's one thing, Killing for the
hell of it or for the sheer joy of its another thing all together.
To each his own.
©Richard Preston 6/15/03
Two Poems....And A Broken Heart
Only a soldier knows
the beauty of a girl
The meaning of home.
A wind that pulls upon a flag
The storm raging
within a heart that rains
Death that crawls into the soul.
The solemn duty of a soldier,
could he do?
I do not know.
(2003...on the last day)
As of today
they are all gone.
I received a photo
and a message
that 'Booker T' has died.
I look at the photo
and know that i have gone home
Yet I am here,
I shall live
the rest of my days in memory
My Brothers in Arms.
..can I ever write
Nothing is so unforgiving
As are the sands of time
Flowing through the hourglass
Stealing your lives and mine
When the fine particles surrender
From the top where they begin
And reach the end of their journey
Someone turns the hourglass over again
A never-ending cycle
Or so at least it seems
As the nightmarish three dimensions
Chain us to our hellish dreams
The sands are bound for eternity
Within the confines of the glass
As is the memory of men gone by
Whose shadows are no longer cast
Once young and fierce defenders
That carried freedom beneath the ground
Would to God we could bring them back
By turning bloody history upside-down
World war one and world war two
Disappear with the flip of a wrist
Korea and Vietnam along with the Gulf
Neath the sands would cease to exist
But fear not valiant Men of war
Who fought in freedoms name
For the powers that be, would if they could
Forget its warrior's names
You and I exist to twist the glass
For the sands of time are ours to keep
And as they flow Old Soldiers shall die
Causing Father Time himself to weep
©June, 18, 2003
In The Last Days
Time sleeps upon a cloud.
The sky dreams,
and gardens in the heart
is passing away,
...and we follow.
Silver maned, and walking the hills
we used to run.
The Raven calls
"Do you remember me?"
The rain falls
from a curtain pulled
across the sky.
We stand alone
upon an empty plain,
we shall somehow
Ky Nam Dreaming...(long ago).......for Richard Preston
I shall never forget the Tu Do lights
..and Cho Lon nights.
Hot and humid Vietnam,
and memories of firefights.
(Ky Nam incense burning) Binh Thien Ha!
slaying ricepaddies in thedark of night
with tracers falling all around.
and always watchin'
for what is never seen.
(Ky Nam incense burning) Binh Thien Ha!
is touching the face
of a deadman,
..and remembering him.
War is a loneliness
that keeps us all
(Ky Nam incense...burning) Binh Thien Ha!
War and remembrance
...a dear old friend.
Brothers til the end.
Binh Thien Ha!
©Jun 18 2003