Frank J. Montoya

WOUNDS TO THE SPIRIT

They left in high spirits, when called on to fight.
Their cause it was just, their future looked bright.
Their mission: to help a small new nation stay free
Of the Communist threat. What nobler deed could there be?

But public opinion would not let them prevail.
Bad press and protestors their cause did assail.
Our elected officials could not see eye to eye.
Their discord fueled anti-war feelings, already too high.

Students held rallies and draft cards were burned.
Military service and tradition were hatefully spurned.
Would-be draftees to Europe and Canada went.
Flags were burned, tempers flared, fatal shots fired at Kent.

Who could have known what that ill-fated venture would cost?
More than ten wasted years, fifty eight thousand lives lost.
Was it wrong? Who can tell? But our troops could not choose.
Duty called and they went, right or wrong, win or lose.

They were not always cast in a favorable light,
As the war was brought home on TV every night.
They were heroes no more, but called villains instead.
“Get out of Viet-Nam!” was what half the world said.

They came home, but their welcome was too much to bear.
They were shunned and ignored, cursed at here, spat at there.
Their spirit was gone, their morale never so low.
They had given their all, all for naught, it seemed so.

There’s a wall now in Washington that lists all who died.
But those that came back were hurt too… deep down inside.
For spite, scorn and indifference leave scars that are real,
And those Wounds to the Spirit take a long, long time to heal.