Gary Jacobson


Gary Jacobson: Names Carved on The WallOh the names carved on that long black polished wall
Honor the bravest heroes of all
My heart stops to count their blessings
Throbbing inconceivable in my head glad praisings
For those terminally wounded in the Central Highlands
Lying in blood-soaked death in Coastal Lowlands
On the razor’s edge… so wearied… so bloodied
Nourishing the Nam with precious seed.
Now standing lonesome vigil at the wall night and day
Their spirits surround me as I kneel to pray.

58,000 names adorn that burnished wall
Etched in silver amid blackened pall for us all
Men from Viet Nam who wear the victor’s crown
Freedom’s wreath in acclaimed renown.
They fought and died for us. Honor them!
Our beloved sons, America’s brightest diadem:
Royal princes bearing noble power in dignity,
Who paid the supreme sacrifice for liberty.
Oh Lord, it could have been me there…
But for the grace of God, should have been me there.

The long black wall houses spirits of the fallen brave
Sent forth in glory our country to save
Their sweet spirits today their Master grace
Still the army’s venerable dogface
Manning new battle stations served on the wall
Guarding precepts of freedom’s service for us all
Spirit’s in the wind around that hallowed place
Step forward… their courageous spirit embrace.
Oh Lord, it could have been me there…
But for the grace of God, should have been me there.

Hold fast to boys who fell at bloody Ia Drang
Becoming men as bullets around them rang
The harvest of our embattled sons from Quang Tri
To the last firebase on the DMZ
Countless men met their maker slam-bang
In sweat and blood life’s last sweet refrain sang
This band of brothers who battled there
Martyrs struggling through deep despair
Remember their sad eyes crying
As the light passed from their eyes dying.

Revere the memory of that valiant man
Etched on a black-granite wall from Viet Nam
Who died horribly at Kontum
Who fought for you midst mist and gloom
Fighting on because… simply, he must
So many returned from whence they came, to dust
Their young lives torn… bruised
Anteed up to battle abused.
It’s painful to remember, but we must never forget
Coming out of the tree line, with that hot sun backset.

Now they’re just names numbered on the wall
Army, Air Force, Navy, deserving honor from us all
Stouthearted, bold, Marines
Lean and mean fighting machines
The First Team, 1st Air Cavalry gave their lives at Khe Sahn
Blistered by withering rockets in the final dawn
Soldiers of the right facing egregious wrong
Warriors killed in the flower of youth at Bong Song.
Oh Lord, it could have been me there…
But for the grace of God, should have been me there.

Shed a tear for men who died, on Hill 285
Men on A Shau’s Ripcord fighting just to stay alive
To hell’s onslaught survive
Brave men died in battles from Bien Hoa to Pleiku
Here on this wall lay the brave, the proud, the few
Who answered the call from Phan Thiet
Into the voracious maw of guns of Tet
You bet!
Oh Lord, it could have been me there…
But for the grace of God, should have been me there.

Remember The Rockpile, leach valley, Operation Thayer
Where was said that last rights prayer
Oh the memories abound
Telling frightful, fearful sound
Recall the Mekong Delta Riverine
Toughest fighting men the Nam’s ever seen
Those valiant men starkly named on the wall
Men of the Swift Boats who died in murky pall.
Part of them’s still back there, humping Viet Nam to keep
In the arms of brothers we still weep.

Rest now, in peaceful rest
Numbered with the best
On that long black wall
Men of the Brown Water Navy still standing tall
Men in countless villages Tuy Hoa to Nha Trang
Laid low in shadow near Phan Rang
Warriors fighting from Dak To to imperial Hue
Gave their dear lives there, back in the day.
Oh Lord, it could have been me there…
But for the grace of God, should have been me there.

Remember men who’d just begun to live…
Who breathed their last precious breath on earth
Lost in battle’s dearth
Who freely gave their life to awful death
Falling along the banks of the Perfumed River
In sweet-and-sour mist gave their forever
Screaming the primal scream in exquisite pain
Cold, abandoned, lonesome in Monsoon rain.
Oh Lord, they’ve finally come home from that bloody melee
To sheltered rest now in the arms of history.

Oh the names carved on a long black wall polished
Etched in silver from Nam’s blackened pall burnished
These bravest heroes abide no longer alone
Charred souls bloody, weary, lost, tired to the bone
Through pain and sorrow they do atone
With 58,000 brothers at their Savior’s throne
Now just resting there, you see
To see if their bloodshed kept you free
A shining symbol of liberty…
Oh Lord… it should have been me.