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.