Soldier boy ran straight into war, by way of forced draft, seeking a hero to be, took ahold of rifle and all those lines fed him, dominoes falling, threat to USA, etc., he believed and followed.  Until the first bullet flew way above his head, and fear shook thru him, his right leg shaking, and not knowing why, he grabbed it and it just went on uncontrolled.  He, then knew, he wasn’t ready to die, he who had no family, wife, friends, thought, no one would miss him, if anyone could die, it should be him and not someone with many loved ones.  But, he than knew he was ready to live!  Wanted to live, regardless, so, he became determined to make it through, any ambushes and all the danger, that turned him into cautious man, super grunt, for war was easy for him, he could see better than others, to be move about was in his DNA, to hunt and be hunted, was something so familiar, to walk all day with extra weight was difficult task that did not exhaust him, like it did to so many others.  He demanded extra from those under him, and around him, dig extra deep foxholes, so to hide one’s head, if under mortar attack, string cans with rocks, off at gernade range, like baseball throw distance, cover and bury claymores’, for enemy would turn them back on us if discovered.  To be silent, not wear smelly cologne or smoke, turn off radios, etc. etc., many were upset with my demands, i was made point and would go the most difficult route, never the easiest way, or low point, thru rice paddies, with water buffalo shit and mud, stinky, but, we were never ambushed when i was up there, and soon, my unit and even battalion wanted me there.  But, around me were hit and i saw units hit with body parts flying in the air, dead shot, heard the cries of pain and sorrow, seems one calls for love ones, believes their own pain the greatest.  And, it is, pain is subjective, real to one whose hurting, how can one distinguish?

Soldier boy can still smell death, hear the final gasp, know the terror of fear within, blood stains remain forever, the cries become embed in the gray matter of one’s life, that what heals scars over the tissue wounds, but not the emotional trauma, yes, one is taught and train to face this, to overcome any and all obstacles, yet, the memories of realization that the enemy who sometimes walks within you, the enemy who sometimes talks within you, the enemy who lives within all those soldier boys, will always know wars are not right for him or for anyone.  Soldier boy lives on and on to become old veteran, maybe wounded maybe not, fighting no more war, but the one within, knowing war ain’t something to run into or to run away from, it is something we all should do what we can to stop and never allow to happen.  But, war exists all around us and behind, now and ahead of us.  Soldier boy knows heroes are easier to determine if they die, it’s those who live who may not ever receive the help and  attention required to deal with the results of war.   Semper Fi, Vietnam 1968-69 dedicated to the memory of KG Blackwell and all those soldier boys who didn’t make it back and all those who did, who struggle alive…