Ann-Marie Spittle

WHAT HERO’S WELCOME?

What hero’s welcome did I receive
When home from battle did I come still bleeding?

None!

For I was one who was forgotten
A battle scarred soldier who none would claim
But all would blame
For what happened over there

The memories I wish I could forget
But they lay imprinted on my mind
Like a cinematic film playing over and over

But I cannot not play them when I want
Or erase them
No they are mine to keep
Not the sort of Kodak moment I was hoping for

No I am one of those that are the dark underbelly of war
Who did the jobs that other did not want
And faced an enemy that few had faced before
And survived

But at what cost to ourselves
We are the lepers of the world
But our leprosy is hidden in our minds
But we can see it on dark nights when we’re all alone

Like Lady Macbeth we rub our hands
to try and free ourselves of our “damned spot”
But it remains

All we ask is to be remembered
To be seen as heroes
To be placed in pride as a generation of soldiers
To be seen as more like Audie Murphy in the eyes of America
Yet we are seen more as Rambo

Understand that we are human too,
And we want recognition from our country
If British we would have been sung praises to the hill tops
And a holiday to remember us would have been named

But we are Americans
And we were treated like criminals
Because of one word
VIETNAM