Merriam Jean Burke

Merriam’s husband is a Vietnam Veteran who has cancer from materials he handled in Vietnam. Her brother was injured in Vietnam, resulting in the loss of his leg.


They walk up to the wall and touch the names
With minds full of visions and hearts full of pain.
Not only did they deal with the wounds of war
They were reviled, spit on and soldiers ignored.

There was no glory for them only questions and hurt
Nowhere were seen flags or parades showing their worth.
One day they were fighting in a place called “The Nam”
The next they were home alone with no guidance or plan.

Some were medics with “The Look” showing they care
Others back from battle had the “Thousand-yard stare.”
They were on Swift Boats dangerously working the rivers
Or back in camp running for safety diving for bunkers.

Iraq Veterans were brethren sharing glory in the 90’s
Finally you heard cheers deserved in the 60’s and 70’s.
I have been to the wall and I have seen all the names
Sharing tears for soldiers who were treated with shame.

Thank you for fighting in the unpopular war
Our country is proud of what you solemnly bore.
So hold up your heads for we love and salute you
Those who fought that war and gave up their youth.