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By: CCPoems4U~

 ..
 LT sent us up that hill, on orders from the brass.
 Sarge threatened us with walking point or he would kick our ass.
 .
 At 20, I was the oldest, the rest were younger still
 Our faces showed the burden of just how it feels to kill.
 .
 We struggled with reality, in a war we could not win,
 But the brass had got there body count and notified their kin.
 .
 Yogi, Bo & T.J., Frankie, Nick & Jack,
 All claimed short timer’s armor, but still watched each other’s back.
 .
 Jungle rot and booby traps and that ammonia smell,
 Bugs and snakes and monsoon rain, in an unforgiving hell.
 .
 My time grew short and there we were, a quiet little town.
 When all at once all hell broke loose, as the rockets showered down.
 .
 Then someone yelled “cease fire”, and we’d have never guessed,
 That only seconds later, we’d take our final test.
 .
 Two children scurried from a shack as we watched in disbelief,
 Never thinking for a moment, they’d bring us only grief.
 .
 A boy, a stick clenched in his hand, came running down the trail,
 A girl ran close behind him with her swinging pony tail.
 .
 In the emotion of the moment, we relaxed and had no plan,
 But on the stick the kid was wielding, was an old C-Ration can.
 .
 He whipped the thing right past my ear, and further down the road,
 I never knew just what it was, till I heard it explode.
 .
 Then in that mad, mad moment, all innocence was gone,
 Yes, gone and gone forever, on that gray Vietnam morn.
 .
 In rage we raised our weapons and hate was all I felt,
 But as the Kids stared back at me, my hate began to melt.
 .
 I froze, and then I felt a tear, as my heart began to pound,
 Suddenly two shots rang out and both kids hit the ground.
 .
 VC, VC, someone cried out, VC there in that tree,
 He jumped and took off down the road and somehow made it free.
 .
 The kids just lay there motionless, but we were all alive,
 And blood and smoke was everywhere as the air support arrived.
 .
 The choppers buzzed and blasted, as we searched each little hooch,
 And I knew if we came eye to eye Id waste that stinking gook.
 .
 That memory still haunts me, I can see those kids go down,
 And I still can smell the Napalm as it singed each inch of ground.
 .
 My time there may have changed me, though I can’t say why or how.
 But I felt it was important to share this with you now.
 .
 And should there be a next time, let’s think not once but twice,
 And work it out another way, or pay the final price.
 .
 Dave Smith
 5/24/69

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