A Lonely Send-Off

I can still see all their faces as
they set sail for that faraway land.
There was no one there to see them off...
We'd happened by...it wasn't planned.

When I asked where they were going.
(Was I really that naive?)
They shouted "where else?! Viet Nam!)
Then, I cried as we watched them leave.

They called it a "police action,"
though it was , quite obviously, a war.
Eventually, it divided our nation in two...
those against it...and, those for.

I think back to that day so often,
the images still sharp and clear.
I can hear the echo of their voices...
Why don't I recall the sound of fear?

I wonder if they would remember us,
waving to them from the pier?
Two young girls on an autumn day...
the wind was blowing...the sky was clear.

Though it seems like only yesterday,
it was back in 1965...
I wish I could have known them all...
God, I hope they made it home alive!

A footnote

While reading Phil Caputo's book, A Rumor of War, one paragraph was describing a transport ship leaving San Diego in 1965 ... this was exactly the time my girlfriend and I came upon a ship leaving with hundreds of guys on it. In the book, he says it was the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines.

I can't help but believe it is the same ship we saw preparing to leave San Diego. I hope this poem will be read by one of the guys on that ship.


Copyright © November 1999 by Cecilia Upson Covera, All Rights Reserved