In memory of a friend and soul mate --
It has been twenty four years two hundred ninety days since we spoke
last. That day was September 14, 1968 -- the morning I got hit and began a long
journey that would eventually bring me home.
I had great hope that you had made it home. Unfortunately I just
recently had the courage to read the names on the wall, and found yours. I think
that was one of the saddest days of my life.
I remember the good times we had and the sad times. Mostly I remember
the bonding that happened between us; we were tight. We watched each others
tail and watched it well. You couldn't be there when I tripped the booby trap, and
I couldn't be there when you got it.
I also remember the talks we had about how we had both seen and had
entered the darker side of the human animal and questioned whether we were fit to return
to the world. We had made a pact that we would stay in country until we were no
more in order to save the people back in the world from what we had become and
what we were capable of.
I need to let you know that the trip home was long and arduous, but it is
finally happening. Three years ago, I signed myself into a V.A. hospital
and began the healing it would take to be home again. It has been a long and difficult
journey, but I think I am finally ready to get off the freedom Bird and accept myself
for who I am and forgive myself for who I was then.
I also have to tell you that the protesters and the warriors are
finally finding a common ground to stand on, that war is not good for any people,
and that, if warriors decided we should enter into war, there would be no more.
Along with this letter, I am leaving four other items ... an AMERICAN flag, a
FIRST CAVALRY PATCH, a picture of the day we landed on SIGNAL HILL with most of
our crew in it, and one special item.
I am sure you remember the day we all refused our medals because of the
meaninglessness of them at the time.
I am leaving this BRONZE STAR because you earned it, you deserve
it, and I want you to have it.
I don't know if I am writing this letter for you or for me, but I
can say I feel much better after having done it.
Goodbye for now, friend of mine, for one day we will be together again,
face to face, and not memory to memory.
WITH LOVE, SINCERITY, AND COMPASSION,
SSGT. ROBERT A. HACKNEY
Copyright July 2, 1993 © by Robert A. Hackney Sr., All Rights Reserved