Jack and his beautiful wife, Joan.United States Marine Corps
Phu Da, Vietnam
1970 – 1971
DEAR VIETNAM VETERAN
I know I should have written much sooner.
I can’t say why I did not. Out of fear of admitting to myself you were there fighting a war. Or maybe ashamed; ashamed that I never accepted the things you felt you had to do.
Whatever it is, I know it must hurt.
Believe me when I say it hurts me more. I have the burden of your hurt plus that of my own; the pain of not being able to show my true feeling toward you.
I am not writing this for the months you served in Vietnam, but for the many years, you were left alone with only your brother Veterans. You served proudly and it went unmentioned.
For a long time, I’ve wanted to express the words. The words an honorable Veteran needs to hear.
For a long time, I’ve wanted to hold you during your times of pain.
God knows I wanted to.
And only He knows why I never found the courage. I do not remember what I used to say; maybe I do not want to remember.
All I know is I hope that it is not too late to give you those things now.
For years, you tried to be part of my world. Doing everything to please me, just to be noticed and given a little time and understanding.
I look back and see the demands I placed on your shoulders when you were young. “Fight your weakness, and always show strength to others around you.”
Who was I to make such a demand?
I sit here with tears in my heart, finally admitting to myself the one weakness you must have seen in me and never questioned.
My inability to say the words that I know would have meant so much to you.
You served your country honorably.
Please hear these words now, from my heart. Please give me a chance to be part of your world now. The world I should have been part of long ago.
©Copyright 2002 by Jack Cunningham