My Dad recently passed away…he was a Vietnam Force Recon Marine ('68-'70) I wrote the following poem for him…RIP LCpl Ronald Fenhaus 2/28/51-8/20/06
Tribute to my Dad
I'd like to share a story of a young man just seventeen…
In trouble with the law, he chose instead to be a Marine.
He was off to San Diego in the Spring of '68
Going into boot camp, young and full of hate
"GET OFF THE BUS!!!!" They screamed, as soon as they hit the base
From receiving to graduation…someone always in his face.
In a few short weeks, when he wore that Khaki & Green
He felt a sense of pride in earning the title of Marine.
That pride turned into fear, as he packed his bags for war
Off to fight in battle, on a far off foreign shore.
He was the best of the best…the fighting elite,
First Force Recon…He couldn?t be beat
The sweat, the blood, the loneliness were often hard to bear,
Buddies lost within the ranks, the "1000 meter stare"…
Coming home he wasn't greeted with a hero's welcome
He was spat on, shouted at and treated like he was scum.
The horrors of war…the images of the dead…
He tried to drown with alcohol what was embedded in his head
He'd made it out of hell alive, found a job, a wife, a kid
But he couln't shake those memories…no matter what he did.
Years of drinking took their toll…his family grew apart
This wasn't what he wanted; there was sadness in his heart.
People on the outside didn't see his troubles or his pain,
They didn't have to live with his anger and distain.
To them he was a stand up guy…a lot of fun to be around
But his family knew hostility…anger and sadness abound.
After years of trying to suppress the memories he couldn't forget
He found himself in Waco expressing his deep regret
He began to open up, and talk about the past,
But his illness was taking over and he was fading fast.
This young man of seventeen, was now older, tired, and worn,
It is for him we come together this day to pay tribute and mourn.
He wasn't perfect…this young man of seventeen…
But he was a friend, a husband, a Dad…and a United States Marine.