Bronson Smith

This past July [2004], my son wrote a poem for me and I would like to share it with you. His name is Bronson Smith and is 16 years old. If you use the poem I wish that all credit go to him.

I was a Combat Infantryman with The First Infantry Division and the Americal Division in Vietnam in 1969-1970.

Clyde Smith
December 13, 2004

MY FATHER

So unprepared for the journey ahead…
In a place far from home, across the sea…

Only teenagers, young and their lives yet to live;
the heat scorches their body. Humidity suffocates them.
The packs on their backs only make it harder to keep up the pace
in the damp, dark place.

Walking alone, your stomach in knots, throat is tight.
Breathing is heavy, shaking…
Sounds in the distance startle the silence in your mind.
How could a place so beautiful and full of life
become drenched with blood and death???

One moment the silence and beauty puts you in a trance,
the next moment you are on the ground, hands over ears,
eyes shut tight, crying and praying to God.

How can this be real?
People are actually dying; people are really trying to kill me!
Why did this happen to me…?

Fear engulfs you; you are the walking dead;
for days at a time walking miles
searching for someone or something.
Search and Destroy??
More like Search and Die.

Why would you search for someone who would surely kill you?
Feeling Death itself getting closer with each step you take;
You are waiting for it to happen,
waiting for death and to sleep forever.
The tension builds,
turning your mind into a twisted and distorted wasteland.
You will not sleep, afraid you might not awake.
The smell of death, the stench of evil,
the sound of death whispering in your ear,
its cold breath on the back of your neck.

Anticipation is what you have come to believe in;
Knowing you will die.
With every bullet, you can feel them chasing you, hunting you.
Watch it explode.
There go the fragments of your mind.
Insanity becomes your friend.

People dying, lying all around you;
the feeling of being a ghost.
Thinking you must be the only one seeing what is going on,
watching it like a movie, but there is something wrong.

Why can’t I stop this movie?
Living a dream? It must be a dream,
but why can’t I wake up?
Why won’t someone wake me? God! Please Wake me!!

Screams haunt your thoughts…

When will it be my turn to cry for life,
when I drown in my own blood?
I will carry this weight for the rest of my life.

Staying alive is almost worse than dying.
You go on, while the others die.
You’re on your own again. Ask to die, but it won’t come.

When will I leave this Hell?
I live and then die inside.
My mind is decaying.
What will happen if I stop praying?
I don’t know whether or not I believe in praying anymore.
Is it God keeping me alive?
Or is it merely luck?
Seconds become minutes.
Minutes become hours.
Hours become days.
Days become weeks.
Weeks become months;
months of Hell.
How many more days do I have left here?
I don’t remember anymore.
I don’t care anymore.
I just hope and pray I go home alive.

You’re still alive, but something is terribly wrong.
Mentally you are dead.
Your soul feels hollow.
Come home and no one really cares.

Where is my welcome home?
Why doesn’t anyone care?
My friends died, lost their limbs, got shot to hell,
and no one cares.

You are the unsung heroes –
The disposable heroes.