James H. Smith

FIFTY THOUSAND PLUS

Fifty thousand plus shed their life and blood into the jungle ground
Their voices float forever upon the wind, but most hear not a sound
Only their bothers, veterans of the jungle all
In the dark of the night, wake to a lost brother’s call
Then there were those who came home, holding their head up proud
Spit upon, called names, many lost their spirits: they in pathos drown
I did my part, I went when called, now so many friends live upon a wall
They gave their life, many a families end, why for what did they give their all
Those returned crippled and lame in both body and soul
Asking for understanding, a little hope wanting only to be whole
But so many times their thoughts, their voices screamed out in vain
Killed in Viet Nam but to damn dumb to lay down, so I suffer the pain
We honor in memory and pray for those who are lost
As a nation we shall never know wars true cost
Lost families and men, children never born
And those of us who are left who felt a nation’s scorn
We travel many a mile to stand on hallowed ground
Once there humbled remembrance, silence or sob our only sound
We’ve come to a place honoring not the war, nor a nation, only those who gave their all
A monolith of black rock where spirits touch across the divide, we call it The Wall

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: September 12, 2007
Awarded: September 12, 2007