A Student’s Class Project
Well, I’ve just wrapped up another semester of teaching my class on the Vietnam War. This year, instead of a multiple choice or essay final exam, I had the students put some sort of project together that showed what they had learned in the course. One in particular stuck me and I thought you’d appreciate it, as well. It is rather lengthy, but if you can find a way, please share as much as possible with other vets!
This student, named Rachel, said she chose this sort of project because it allowed her to show the many different levels that the war reached and the impact of the war on the families of those who fought it. To accomplish this, she wrote three poems…each from a different perspective.
A Little Girl’s Prayer
As I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
Please love my Daddy, God, in Vietnam
And keep him away from any harm
I hear them Lord while I’m at school
Sometimes people can be so cruel
Mommy says just not to listen to them
But I just can’t help but to defend him
They say he kills babies and little girls like me,
They say I’m blind if I can’t see
The horrible things that he does over there
That’s when my eyes begin to tear.
Lord, please forgive my Daddy tonight,
He never really liked to fight,
But he had to, for our country you see,
Daddy says it’s mostly for me.
I hope he’s not evil like they say,
Anger’s never really been his way.
Mommy says over there it’s dark and hot,
Lord, please don’t let my Daddy get shot.
He’s probably scared and hungry too,
Oh, God I hope that isn’t true.
Now my fears run much more quickly,
Because in the back of my head I can see him dead, or sickly.
And Mommy and me always will.
Please send a kiss from me to him,
Just don’t forget my family Lord, Amen
A Wife’s Prayer
Thank you Lord for your blessings this day,
Keep my family safe and near.
Guide my daughter along her way,
Let Jack know there’s nothing to fear.
Lord give me strength, courage, and grace.
Help my family not to break down.
And let not my daughter see not death’s grey face
When her father finally gets back into town
Let him know that I love him still,
I don’t care what they say he’s done.
Their cruel words will never change the way I feel.
Lord, should I tell him about his new son?
What will he be like when he gets back home?
What will she do if he’s not the same?
Oh, I can’t help but feel alone
I hope he doesn’t have to live with any shame.
What if he dosen’t love me anymore?
What will I do then?
Will I seem like just another chore?
One that’s too much trouble for him?
I hope he doesn’t become greedy for medals and such,
I hope he doesn’t get himself killed.
The new baby and her by myself would be too much,
I know his wounds may never be healed.
Not the wounds upon the skin,
But the ones inside his head.
I know ths damned war we cannot win
Might send him to his final bed.
How will I tell her that her Daddy died?
What will she think?
You don’t just say, “Well he got fried,”
Or “Sorry, he was killed by a tank.”
His death is what consumes me now
Every time I hear a knock at the door
I think of the way a soldier will bow
Before telling you that your husband’s no more.
Lord, please don’t let me live through this,
I just don’t think I could bare
Knowing that now there is a love I will always miss
And the whole thing just doesn’t seem fare.
I know he’s lonely and miserable, too.
There are alway missions where the men don’t return,
With the things he must face, many much worse than the flu
I can’t help but be suffocated with concern.
Lord just let him know that I love him still,
Please send a kiss from me to him.
Let him know there’s a place in our hearts only he can fill,
God, don’t forget my family, Amen.
A Soldier’s Prayer
Dear Lord, I know that I haven’t talked to you lately, and all I do is cry,
I’ve been a little busy with things like patrol and war.
I was wondering if you could check on my family for me?
Just make sure that Lizy and my little girl are okay.
I feel so releived right now, you’ve helped greatly, so I
Would just like to say “thank you” for the suffering you bore
On the cross for me. While I sit here, and think of them, all I can see
Is that damned jungle looming out there waiting for the end of the day.
The men around are crumbling, but they do try
To carry on like soldiers no matter how scared or how sore.
They try to be the best they can be.
Please forgive them for the things they’ve done, and the words they say.
I know that they’ve killed people and plundered villages as they pass by.
I know that you see them out here in Danang running around with whores.
I know that they’ve cursed your name, and our country’s,too. Lord just hear my plea
And listen to this prayer for them I’m about to pray.
Lord give me strength to do your will and not mine. Let me lay
My head down in this mud and let unclean water soak into my pores.
Forgive these boys, Lord and I know that you’ve already paid their fee,
Lord, just love them each and every day.
Your love is what will make this war’s damaging memories begin to die.
Help them Lord, remind them that the future isn’t full of closed doors.
When love comes don’t let them flee.
Remind me that I’ll be home in May
We’re scared, Lord and many od us just want to go home and fly
Into the arms of our sweethearts and just walk into a couple of stores
Where we won’t be scared of a bomb going off, or mainly for all this to finally be
Okay, I just want to see Lizy and tell her that I’ll love her always.
Lord, just let my family know that I love them, and if they ask why
Let them know that it’s because they still love me simply for
Me. Lord also send Lizy a kiss from me.
Lord, don’t forget my family. Amen. And keep me safe today.
Merry Christmas, Sgt Grit! And a Happy New Year!!