Ode to Vietnam

Ode to Vietnam
by Rocky Fortner

Nearly fourty years have come & gone since I became a man,
T’was in the heat, the rain & blood of Southern Viet Nam…

The battle scars run deep within the prison of my soul…
I’ll not forget the, the pain, the screams & horrors of it all…

We hailed from many backgrounds across this Nation’s land,
some dark, some light, some thin,some tall, that forged this nobel band…

We were young and dumb & full of prid…some thought they’d never die,
for we were young Americans raised on “Moms Hot Apple Pie”…

Aboard the ships we cleaned our guns & packed our bags to go,
then ‘Gunny’ yelled, “let’s saddle-up, it’s time to start OUR show”…

Into the boats we stumbled as the waves banged against the hull,
they snarled & dipped & rolled and tossed our stomaches in a ball…

A whistle blew, the engines roared and suddenly we knew,
T’was time to stand to lock & load and pray for me & you…

As all the boats formed up on line and headed for the shore,
my thoughts would wonder back to times now gone forever more…

Little things came back to me reflecting on the past,
like high school girls andf footbal games, the smell of fresh cut grass…

Like the time I made the track team and became a ‘rising star’,
my first drink of the ‘hard stuff’ in some Okinawa bar…

Then shots rang out & the ramp went down, now we’re standing in the sand,
confusion all around us was our first day in “the Nam”…

A scream was herd, then someone fell and vanished in the smoke,
we knew then this was NOT a dream, a fantacy, or joke…

I’d never seen men blown apart, or die so painfully,
don’t be surprised or full of doubt, I’m just a kid you see…

Still in our teens were most of us that stepped up to th plate,
and swore that we would NEVER fail to to serve our Nation Great…

While poised within torrential rains, our feet forever soaked,
we laughed, we cried, and drank warm beer & bummed another smoke…

We’d count the days that we had left, but each seemed like a week,
It’s tough sometimes to contimplate the things of which I speak…

The heat, the rain, the smell of blood, gunpowder on our clothes,
young men who shared a special bond, no other creature knows…

These gallant boys & men I knew, so daring, young and brave,
so many now lay silently at peace within their graves…

But what of those that made it home, when all was said & done,
were we considered heroes, or a Nation’s bastard sons…?

Our lives were scared forever, yet we were never welcomed home,
there were no bands, or big parades, nor ‘yellow ribbons’ shown…

And so we all pretended that it never really mattered,
that all our dreams and inner self forever had been shattered…

We faded into history…a band of Brothers true,
and tried to make a life within a Nation torn in two…

We often drown or sorrows in some local crummy bar,
pretending it was all a dream, not part of who we are…

While realizing all the while the impact that it made,
on each and every one of us, these memories NEVER FADE…

No matter what the public thinks we did, or didn’t do,
the truth lies deep within the souls of troops like me & you…

We did our time and and fought the war that never really was,
we stood our ground & raised our flag for a nobel, worthy cause…

Be proud to know we did our part & sealed therein our fate,
in spite of all the diatribe, indifference and the hate…

Who knew what we were called to do would really seem to matter,
but all would stand the test of time for those who fought the battles…

And now with gray & thinning hair, my waist expanding well,
I flashback to those yesteryears, a lifetime spent in hell…

We ALL have a legacy to share with anyone,
that contimplates the trials of war that kills our Nation’s sons…

America the beautiful God shed his grace on the,
but don’t forget the price we’ve paid ’cause FREEDOMS NEVER FREE…

Now stand with me and raise your glass to the names upon that wall,
and PRAY that they died NOT in vane for answering the call…

Former Corporal of Marines, “Rocky” Fortner
Served in Viet Nam from August 65′ Until August 66′ with
LIMA CO.3rd Batt.3RD Marine Reg.3rd Marine Div. as a “Grunt”
(He was wounded twice)

 

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