Volume Two

Differently The war touches so many, in so many ways, each very differently. That child knew of no one, of whom she is aware, who was involved. That teenager found out, that his teacher was in it, and knew people who died. That college student knows, in the back of her mind, that the uncle she never knew, was killed in combat. That elderly man remembers his son, boarding the plane - reluctantly. . . not wanting to fight. That man's wife remembers, her young cousin working in Nam, trying to save our soldiers' lives. That teacher knew someone, who ran to Canada, trying to dodge the draft. That secretary watched, as her only brother left-- off to serve his tour. That man watched the war, from Thailand, never seeing the war. That man saw the war, up close and personal, and saw his friend die. That man saw the war, up close and personal, and now his girl cries, over his name on the wall. The war touches so many, in so many ways, each very differently. -Libby Wasmund

copyright © 1996 by Libby Wasmund, all rights reserved

into the earth i walked up to the black wall eleven years old not too innocent to know exactly what those names meant. i felt out of place as if i didn't belong standing there between women who had lost their husbands and mothers who had buried their sons for this war. i did not have a name to look up in the directory i could not press my small fingers against those carved letters i could only read them one after the other followed by a diamond or a cross. on that april day the vietnam war was not my tragedy i could watch but not feel its sadness. years later i stand before the same wall american flags and flowers clutter its base. i realize the vietnam war is this nation's tragedy whether we lost a father, a lover, a sister or a son it belongs to us all. we must remember it for its horror and injustice. it belongs to all who believe they are american we have a responsibility to the names carved in black granite, sinking into the earth. it was a september evening as i turned my back to the sun setting behind the wall. i could feel its sadness becoming my own. Katharine Walmsley

copyright © 1996 by Katharine Walmsley, all rights reserved

Away You'll Go One, Two, Three, Four, Is the count off, Straighter yet you stand, In your shining boots so black, Not a crease or wrinkle is to be found On your suit of green Your hair is clean, short and coarse beneath your hat. Pride is in your eyes, An air of victory coarses through you, The pins of your corporal's rank are straight, And your ribbon straps tucked neatly inside your helmet. Your weapons hang at your side, clean and loaded. Though it is fall you see not its colors, Only blue, white and red, the red stands out. As you happen to slightly move your head, A sweet wind raises the banner, And a light enters your eyes As your gaze rests on the object you seek, Honor swells within you, and the wind lifts your dog tags, Like a chime singing a story, A story for you alone. Fear is death And to you in your chaste uniform, Death is betrayal, so on you'll go, A boy in a man's suit, Away you'll go. Four, Three, Two, One, Is the countdown, You stand so bent and weary, In your tattered boots, scuffed and gray, Not a clean, unworn spot is to be found, Caked on dirt and dried on blood, Your hair is long and dirty beneath your bandage, Pain and longing, are in your eyes an air of experience surrounds you, your rank has changed, yet the pins are meaningless, and dull. The torn ribbons from your helmet are tied around the gash in your leg, Your weapons lay untouched at your feet, Never to be fired again, It is winter, Yet the only color you see is red, the red stands out. As you happen to slightly turn your head, A dry dusty wind raises the banner, And the light dwindles in your eyes, your gaze caresses that object, so long ago forgotten, Emotion fills your soul, And the wind lifts your dog tags, Silver, bent and dull, The chime is no longer there, Yet your story is not alone. Life includes death, And to you in your "chaste" uniform, Death is no longer a betrayal, So on you'll go, A boy in a man's body, Away you'll go. Kristina Bartlett copyright © 1996 by Kristina Bartlett, all rights reserved