Witness The Wall

Viet Nam War Memorial The Wall

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THE WALL

I talked with friends who had lost someone there

A loved one who perished in a distant land

Taken down, life ends ; a cold, blank stare

On shoreline, in forest, in barren sand


Young life, cut short, so much promise denied

A purpose unclear, though fervent and true

For an ideal, a belief, and hope, as you sighed,

For a perfect world, if it were up to you


In unfamiliar country, with foreign rule

Advancing in tall grass or searing sun

In an arena which hosts the worst of cruel

Where life is determined by the knife and the gun


Beside you, a new friend, a partner, a brother

Complete trust in each other; no doubt

His life in your hands, at the moment; no other

Your life in his hands; helping each other out.


"What was it that brought us here?

What is the reason we answered the call?

Once, long ago, it was so clear

Now, I'm not sure..not sure at all."


Days, weeks, months and years passed

As we stumbled through fight and fire

We thought, for sure, we'd make it...we'd last

We did not know how absolutely dire


Was the fate that waited, at the tunnel's end?

We did our best, we gave our all

But, sadly now, my brother, my friend..

I stand before your name..

Etched here, on "The Wall."




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Comments 55 comments

A.A. Zavala profile image

A.A. Zavala 4 years ago from Texas

Epic...

Young men joined for because of the romanticized view of war. Others drafted because they couldn't afford the loopholes to get out of it. Battle buddies making it through basic, in processing into their new unit. Being dropped or marched into battle. Luck determining the outcome of survival. An epic poem in remembrance of those who have fallen in service to our country.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Thank you, Augustine. I wanted to recognize those who died..I thought about this today...and came home..sat down...wrote my thoughts. I know it could be better but I wanted to do it today. Have you been to the Wall? I have several times..it is stunning...t he feeling is as if you are being washed over with a wave of emotion..I could not help it...I cried...and cried. It is the most astonishing experience..to see all those names .so many. And there is always someone there..also, my friend Al was involved with the local Viet Nam Veterans group who sponsored the moving wall...it's been to Napa several times...and rested at the Veterans' home in Yountville..seeing it is also a very moving experience. thank you for always being so supportive and leaving comments which I deeply respect. kathy


alastar packer 4 years ago

A fine and touching Memorial Day tribute poem Kathy.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

Beautiful, sad, poignant, .. a wonderful tribute, and a lesson as well. Voted up,beautiful and shared.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Thank you Alastar and Ms DzyMsLizzy! Yes, when we allow it to sink in...we are truly overwhelmed with the tragedy of so much loss. So many adjectives come to mind...just the profound nature of this reality. Thank you.


mwilliams66 profile image

mwilliams66 4 years ago from Left Coast, USA

Beautiful and tragic. A lovely tribute to those who have been lost.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Thank you mwilliams66 We cannot forget.


BeyondMax profile image

BeyondMax 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Such a great, overwhelming tribute! The poem is amazing, sorrowful, touching and heartfelt. Well said!


Vincent Moore 4 years ago

You've captured the sadness and heartbreak of war and giving it all up for a cause.Tragic as it is man will not cease to fight man over land, air and sea. A very kind tribute to loss of young men. How very sad indeed.


American Romance profile image

American Romance 4 years ago from America

AAZavala, men didn't join for romantics, they joined or accepted their duty because of love of country and freedom!


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Awesome and up. This is a powerful statement and more people need to be aware of this location. Just so you know, a postage stamp commemorated The Wall.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hello BeyondMax (yea...), Vincent, American Romance and aviannovice..thank you so much...Sometimes, I feel that we lose the real meaning of our 'holidays' which are meant to honor and remember our fallen heros. We hear words...over and over and, as human nature is inclined to do; the immediacy and profound reality becomes blurred and "softened" with exposure. but, when taking a moment to digest the incredible sacrifice, the fear, pain, sorrow and all that is encompassed in death on the battle field; disabilities from war,.... it is then that the hugeness of this is felt. So, I just want us to know that Memorial Day and Veterans' Day are to quietly remember and honor those who gave so that we could do what we are doing at this moment. Bless them and you who have visited and commented. Kathy


We save cats 4 years ago

Back then, women didn't serve in the military as much as they do now, but you show that women, "get it," and always have. Such a beautiful poem about the ugliest things we muct experience. You are amazing, Lucky Cats. Thank you so much.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

My most dear and closest human soul on earth, AL..thank you from the very depths of my heart. You are treasured! Kathy


DearBandit profile image

DearBandit 4 years ago

Nicely written, if you look at the photo, were the man has his hand up against the wall, it looks like the Soldier is trying to reach out to the other man as well.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hi DearBandit...thank you for visiting..Yes! I noted that it looks as if the Soldier is touching the hand of the mourning man. So compelling. I've been to the wall and this picture truly portrays the feelings inspired by the enormity of it. Thank you. Kathy


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

A very emotional tribute beautifully written and the picture very moving...

Voted up


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Thank you MM! It was and is a solomn reality. The photo is amazing, isn't it? Kathy


Born2care2001 profile image

Born2care2001 4 years ago from Asheville NC

Hi Lucky Cats!

What a beautiful tribute to those who sacrificed themselves for me and you.

War must be a very powerful enemy if it can turn warm hearts into cold stones. The only thing that helps me overcome my anger is the beauty that I know, intuitively, is in the hearts of so many, especially those gracing the wall.

Too much to witness sometimes!

Thank you for loving them!!!

Bruce


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hello Bruce. I appreciate our kind comment...we must never forget...any of our heroes; both with us and passed; who gave so much to ensure that we could do just this....speak freely and without consequence..among other personal freedoms we have here which are not universally available to people worldwide. thank you.


xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

Very moving! I have not been to the Wall but would love to see it. I know it would be an emotional experience. I have seen a traveling replica once or twice. I was drafted in 1963, got out in 1965 just before Vietnam started getting really hot.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hi there xstatic. I hope one day you are able to visit the Wall...it is overwhelming in it's size, alone...and add to that the realization of so many lives lost...oh, it is very very profound. the mobile wall is very very moving, too. I am glad you've gotten to experience it. My best to you, my friend. Kathy


ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Wow, what a powerful read. Thank-you for sharing your words with us. Take care.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Thank you ChristyWrites. Very much appreciated.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

Kathy, I must confess that I deliberately ignored this hub since the day you've published it. I am simply not able to face this awful proof that war is 'not loving anything or anybody, not even oneself.'

Since the beginning of time some people dominate others through war. Those 'some people' con, indoctrinate and victimize young men and even women to kill and destroy.

War is such a proof of hate, destruction and evil.

My heart bleeds for all victims of bad, incompetent, inaffective, narrow-minded, short-sighted, disastrous authority.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hi Martie...well, yes, I agree. While the puppet masters are in their ivory towers directing every movement; the soldiers are persishing in unfamiliar lands...and through no reason of their own..war is an atrocity..when one breaks it down; there are young people in the arena; the field of war, losing their lives, losing their physical well being while nothing changes in the upper echelons.....the puppet masters continue to disagree and "war" as they send their "toy" soldiers off to fight their (so called "leaders") wars.....the young people are but pawns in the hands of the powerful...like playing chess.

It is a shame and a tragedy. I wrote this to honor those who are honorable, true and who believe in an ideal concept; and who are steadfast in a desire to probect it.

War is ugly, it doesn't solve a thing and leaves in it's wake a human graveyard....it is not the answer.

Young people who are called either by duty, belief or hope/faith, to fight for their country (as in this one.....no more mandatory conscription)...or who are forced, through a tyranical government, to fight in the fields....must come to some type of mental reason/grasp/motivation to explain how and why they came to be where they find themselves...in the midst of devastation and destruction

An incredibly difficult reality which, to my understanding; will never truly have an absolute answer...why? Because there is none..killing the youth of a country does not achieve a thing but bloodshed.

However, hold in the highest esteem those who do believe and who do volunteer because they do so w/the best of intentions...

Thank you for the visit, Martie....I've been to the Wall several times and it is absolutely emotionally charged...tangible....palpable and heart breaking.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Kathy,

I have been to the moving wall when it was in Houston years ago. Even though I did not know anyone's name personally enscribed onto it, I found it hard not to break down and cry thinking of all of those (mostly) young lives snatched away in the prime of their youth. Both of my brothers had been in Vietnam and if you would like to see actual photos from the 1960's, take a look at the hub I wrote about Old Photo Negatives of U.S. Soldiers in Vietnam. My brother Jim would have personally known some of those names...but he was already gone when the wall was here. I have a lump in my throat just thinking about it! Very nice of you to make people think of the sacrifices our young men and women make for us by being in the armed forces. Just wish that wars could be ended and that peace everywhere would reign. Guess that is for heaven. Up votes!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Beautiful poem Kathy, and so true. War is tragic and sometimes hard to understand, why do we do it, why do we go there? at this time over here in England we are commemorating Bomber Command from world war 2, my uncle was in that and he lost his life in 42, so its very near to me, and this was wonderful, nell


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hi Nell...I'm sorry about your uncle....though many years later and you were not even born then...still...you cannot help but be touched by the fact of the ravages of war. My older brother lost several close friends in the Viet Nam War....a most horrific conflict....and I knew them. I lost friends, too....thank you for the visit ... this poem means much to me. Kathy


Mmargie1966 profile image

Mmargie1966 4 years ago from Gainesville, GA

This is an absolutely beautiful tribute! Great job and God Bless!


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Thank you, Mmargie! Very appreciated.


DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 4 years ago

To all those who love our freedom and appreciate the soldiers who gave their lives for others.Your hub is sacred. I have never served in the armed forces but I will always owe a world of gratitude to those who have.You make us think and remember once again the tradegy of war.Years ago I listened to a tape called the The Wall it brought tears to my eyes.Once again you opened the flood gates and I can only hope thoughts of peace that one day we may all reach. Thanx for sharing.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

yes, Dream On..so much loss; so much sorrow...truly a national; a worldwide tragedy. I've seen the Wall in Washington D.C. and the mobile wall here in N. Calif...both stirred such emotion; it was humbling. thank you for your thoughtful comment.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

"Now I'm not so sure... not at all."

Such a profoundly memorable and sad tribute, Kathy. You gave this your heart. Voted UP and Awesome. Love, Maria


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hi Mar...ok...now, I just KNOW you and that Martie have gotten your heads together and come up with.....wonderfully great friendship directed right at ME! Yea~! So happy!

Yes, I've been to the Wall and it is tremendously moving...a compelling, humbing experience. There just are no words to describe the enormity of it as it spreads before you as you stand, dumbstruck and saddened. thank you, my dear Mar, for the visit and comment. So very appreciated. kathy


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

That Wall has a living presence and each name read is a prayer for their sacrifice and the families torn apart by death. Thank you for paying them tribute and honor is such a lovely way. The poem is a touching reminder that every American should read every name on there. Bless you.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

Oh this was so very powerful and touching. I remember the first time my husband (a Vietnam Vet) and I took our then 10 year old son to Washington DC and to the monument. What struck me most was the reverent silence of all visitors.

Thanks for this beautiful tribute. It is heartbreaking to me that so many young men are currently sacrificing their all for our country and that wars still continue.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hello Hyphenbird. You've said it so beautifully; "That Wall has a living presence and each name read is a prayer for their sacrifice....." Yes. I believe in this, Hyphenbird...that every prayer, each thought that remembers our beautiful young people who lost their lives...becomes a soothing energy for those who suffered; and passed. I agree with you; we must never forget those names. Viet Nam was a particularly ugly and lasting scar on our national psyche, and still is. Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. Kathy

Hi Happyboomernurse. I saw that, too...the reverent silence; and, where several gathered around a special name, very softly spoken words between family members. I was bowled over. And, yes; today...and every day, young men are loosing so much in the ravages of war. Thank you so much for the caring comment for our lost soldiers. Kathy


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada

Hello Lucky Cats, I got shivers down my spine reading your poem. It is a poignant memorial, written with deep caring. Thank you for your big heart. Regards, snakeslane


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hi Snakeslane...yes, it is enormous...breathtaking....and humbling....and we are thankful..though deeply saddened. thank you so much for the kind comment, Snakeslane. Sincerely appreciate it.


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

A powerful and beautifully written piece. A wonderful tribute to the lives lost. Many of them wondering WHY

The Wall is one of many memorials... but the greatest tragedy is how many more lives, how many more memorials will it take before the 'powers that be' learn learn something from it.

Voting up


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Rosemary50....you said, so truthfully; "The Wall is one of many memorials... but the greatest tragedy is how many more lives, how many more memorials will it take before the 'powers that be' learn learn something from it."

I could not have said it better. Surely, by now, we should have arrived at an understanding that war is not, nor could ever be, the answer to our "differences" or problems. It prolongs them because there is always residual / long lasting negative effects...and our memories are, collectively; long. Very very sad. Such loss. thank you for your thoughtful comment.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

There are certain places like this which evoke our deepest compassion and feelings come to the surface without invitation. One day I will visit the Wall and I know it will move me in much the same way as your poem and tribute has done today.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

hi PegCole17. Your comment says it all; how eloquently your first sentence is...and true. Yes, and it will move you and reach into your core...it is that powerful. Thank you for the visit and caring comment. Kathy


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 4 years ago from Arizona

Lucky Cats, I voted up your writing because I believe it was genuine, and came from your heart. While I believe that after seeing the wall, it was indeed the "LEAST" they could do, I read the comments and the one that stated "romanticized" as our reason, I respect as a quite good writer, yet this point he got so very wrong. Putting your name on the line and swearing an oath to protect liberty and Constitution, while the politicians tear it down, is far from that description. Like I said he's a great writer here and I enjoy his work and we all get something wrong and I hold not against him, I understand as well, evidently he's never killed or been a human target. We didn't even hate those we killed, we didn't know who the were. There is a term for it, "a mad minute" we load every gun to all it will hold and on a mark we open fire until everything is burnt, then there is an eerie silence and the shuffling of reloading begins and the scouts move forward to count the bodies, we were definitely keeping score, the commanders wanted body count, why body count? It was a game, I've got a hub in the works I hope I can finish and then publish here. I only know 8 names and though one is dead for certain, he blew his brains out with my pistol and now that pistol is still in my holster as a back up gun to the good one, I'll never forget the reason he killed himself, our welcome home was spit, rotten eggs and tomatoes and other vile things that throwers didn't realize, had it been where we came from they would have needed a protestors wall. Just my thoughts and I cannot express my feelings to one who was a teen in 1975, when they say "thanx for your service" such a hollow sound, it falls to the floor like a pound of raw hamburger in my minds eye.

I like you collect strays and here a cat must be lucky as I've never seen one on the sand roads that lead here. I have a black dog with white sox and diamond chest, from the bottom of a box eyes shut but alive, I happened to notice as I shoveled the hole and started picking them up one at a time, I then did a double check on the 6 but sadly they were gone. The little female took to instant milk I shook up with cool water in the bottle pretty quick, thirsty and hungry no doubt, a cool day of 95*, I built her a bed in the passenger seat and turned the rig around I put my tranny in 4 wheel drive low and took of in 4th gear that worked from slow to as fast as I would go back to where I came from and on the way switched to Gookinade a drink mix for rehydrating with electrolytes and all the good stuff in warm water and got home with out a hitch. I sat with her and gave her a bear to snuggle with and went about my day at home, didn't need to go to town that bad all of a sudden. I worried with her until lights out and slept on the couch where I could be ear close to her box.

She's a good dog now and healthy as can be, a little fighter.

I appreciate your writing hear but have to agree with Martie and American Romance.

I look forward to reading more of your stories I'm glad Maria led me this way, we do hold something in common.

Peace and Blessings,

dust


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

My Dear friend, Peggy. First of all, I am beside myself with frustration and a strong sense of embarressment as, I realize that I never replied to your honest, heartfelt and personal comment. I am so sorry; it is a mistake and an oversight which never should have occured; somehow, I thought I had responded to you but, upon re-reading my comments in order to talk w/ 50Caliber (above) I realize that I did not answer you I am so sorry. A stupid oversight but, certainly, not an intended slight.

I am so sorry that your brother, Jim, never was able to view the Wall; and I am doubly sorry that both your brothers had to experience Viet Nam. I agree with you, too; the sadness which overwhelms me when I think about the loss; young lives; ruined, gone...or tormented with PTS and, to add insult to the most horrendous of injuries; the treatment at the hands of the very people whose rights were being probected. The sorrows; the loss, the bewilderment; and confusion of that war and then, the horrible way in which our returning soldiers were treaded; is a national shame and embarressment.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

I want to continue; I'll check your site; I think I may have seen it but, your hubs have so much beautiful photography, memorable vintage shots that I may be confused (actually...that's a given!) Well, this is something that touches all of us; from family members to our circle of friends, loved ones, class mates, and others we have known and been influenced and touched by. It is a shame. Again, Peggy, I am very sorry that I didn't reply earlier...my very humble mistake. Kathy


bac2basics profile image

bac2basics 4 years ago from Spain

Hi Lucky cats. I just read a comment you made on this very moving poem..you said you did it in a rush and it wasn´t very good. you are wrong, it says everything , and right from the heart, what an awesome photo too..it speaks a thousand words in silence. Awesome.


Born2care2001 profile image

Born2care2001 4 years ago from Asheville NC

Hi Lucky Cats,

Just wanted you to know that there are hubs that are worthy of a second or even third read. This was one of them. In my humble opinion, one of the greatest tributes to a writer is to touch the hearts of the reader. Sometimes it's the subject matter, sometimes it's the writing. Here, it's both. You have helped to further memorialize the courage of our people, those who served and fell with honor!


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Dear bac2basics, your words are very kind and I sincerely appreciate that you care, too; as is obvious in your comment. thank you.

Dear Born2care2001, Your name says it all; and I am very humbled by your words. You've made me feel happy and content in that the heart and magnitude of the loss sustained is not forgotten or overlooked. thank you so much.

Both of your comments have made my day.

Kathy


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

Very nice tribute there. I know some names on that wall. Seems so little doesn't it? Did anyone ever know what that was really about? Money no doubt. That war could have been won in no time.

Voted up.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 4 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Hi Jackie! Thank you so much for this..you've given all of us much to question. I concur. Very very difficult and strange times then. thank you so much for providing food for thought.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 3 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Want to share this one today, Memorial Day. Thank you to our War Heros, Veterans, those who remain and those who passed. Tremendous, unimaginable sacrifices to secure our freedom. Thank you.


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 2 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Reposting in honor of Memorial Day and those who gave their lives in defense of our nation, our Constitution and our freedom. We must NEVER forget. We MUST always remain grateful and honor our Veterans, our lost hero and our wounded warriors.


We Save Cats profile image

We Save Cats 2 years ago from SE Kansas

Dear Kathy, still a beautiful poem with heartfelt sentiment on ths Memorial day. Thank you from all the "Vietnam Vets and everyone, everywhere.

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