Ken “Wish” Hargrove

Ken “Wish” HargroveKen served in Vietnam from December 1968 through to August 1970

A TOAST THEY WILL SAY

“Here’s to the foolish”, were the toasts by our peers,
As they laughed and they taunted the gullible volunteers,
“Here’s to the fortune and wit of those safe in our dorm”,
As they partied and chanted, - nope, they wouldn’t conform.

They undermined war efforts, gave comfort to our enemy;
Ensured our efforts would be twice as costly and declared their enmity;
As all wars do, this one wound to its end.
The boys coming home were returning as men.

The witty then threw new shame and new blame;
“To the baby-killers, murderers and thugs coming home”;
They spat, called vile names, to the veteran as he roamed.
Their voices were lifted again and they began a new chant:

“Nam-vets- dangerous, quiet, eerie and gaunt”
They’re a threat to society, unhinged, they would taunt.
Over time facts and evidence showed very clearly,
The Nam-Vet had served bravely, endured and paid dearly.

Decades later came toasts with different flavor and hue;
Suddenly, being a Nam-vet was claimed by everyone that you knew.
A finite number had stepped forward, took the chiding and blame.
Decades later those ‘veterans’ are hugely different, in number and name?

Now, how easily the names of campaigns, villes, valleys and bases
Come off the tongues of those never known to have been in those places.
The Warriors with real fear, trauma, horror; were once again victim,
To the witty, the ‘fortunate’, who now claim to have been with ‘em.

‘I always supported you’ is now a common phrase;
“Really our chanting and demonstration was just ‘a phase’.”
We Warriors have all had our phases and battles;
We can see through the smoke and the noise to know what matters;

So let’s raise OUR glasses, those who have really been to war.
Let those witty ones… figure out how to revise it some more!
“We Brothers have Mates and family on The Wall. Raise our Glass to them All!
All Gave Some, Some Gave All…”