Ruby Alexandra Beloz

VIETNAM VET – WILL WORK FOR FOOD

He stands at the bottom
Of a freeway exit
Many cars just pass him by.
They don’t even notice
Him carrying a sign
That reads:

“Vietnam Vet will work for food”
Hungry and Homeless
Please help and God bless you”

I looked at his dirty unshaven face
Wondering what brought this old soldier to this place

Couldn’t help but recognize the patch on his sleeve
He wore the sign of a once proud Eagle from the 101
I figured out by his age
That this old soldier once fought in Vietnam

When I looked into his eyes
I could see they were frozen somewhere in time
His eyes carried the mood
Of a dark and old familiar place
Where soldiers like him died every day

Some soldiers died in the jungle mud
Others still walk a living death
The memories too painful to forget

Only time
Can wash away the sound of the jungle rain
Many years have come and gone by
How did this old soldier get trapped in time?
He now stands here carrying a sign

People in their fancy cars just pass him by
Never noticing this old soldier with his sign.

I pulled up my car to say hello
He bowed his head
Never letting my see his eyes
I told this old boy,
“I see you are from the 101.”

“My Dad’s just like you;
Was once in the Airborne.”

At this, the old soldier raised his face
The hard lines on his face formed a small smile
He knew he was safe
So he talked to me for a while.

I gave him ten dollars and thanked he for what he had done
He said “God bless you ma’am.
You know, I once fought long ago in Vietnam.”
With pride he said,
“I was also Airborne
Just like your old man.”

“But some I could never forget.
All my brothers with headless graves
To mark where they gave their lives
Somehow, I got stuck in time.”

“My mind never made it back
So I stand here carrying a sign
Willing to do what I can.
I don’t want or need much
I thank you ma’am for not passing me by.”

So when you see a Vet standing alone
And carrying a sign that reads:

“Vietnam Vet will work for food”

Please don’t pass him by.
Instead, thank him for what he did;
He really wants to be seen.

His silence says it all.
His eyes bare his soul.
What he wants you to know
Is that he was once was a soldier
Who fought in bravely Vietnam
While you were home and safe
In our heartland.