Note: V-man (Michael S. Viehman) read his poem during services honoring our fallen comrades during the 1st Annual VWAR gathering at Angel Fire on 4 June, 1995


For 23 years, I could not cry.
Now, 25 years gone by
and I don't know if I can stop.....
and I don't care.

There are so many,
who gave so much.....
blood, limbs, lives.....
an' such.

I'm not sure what we fought for.
I'm not sure why we died.
I *do* know that it's for my Brothers.....
that I have cried.....

But it comes to my mind
that there's another loss
of a different, perhaps greater, kind.

I usually think of myself
and other Vietnam vets
as those who suffered great loss -
but, as usual, I lost that bet.

Lately, it's also come to mind,
that to really measure that loss,
requires a yardstick of a different kind.

It was only for a short time that I knew my Brothers -
but others knew them longer.
Sisters, Brothers, Fathers, Mothers, Wives,
Daughters, Sons.....and others -
knew them *before* us - and when they were younger.....

Please forgive me...
'cause I do *not* mean.....
at this holy place...
my fallen Brothers to demean.

But, I feel compelled to express
the love and sorrow that I possess.....
for those others who have lost -
as much, or more, than us.

You all know that I respect and miss
my fallen Brothers.
But, for today, I wish to honor
all those others.
Sons, Daughters, Brothers, Sisters, Wives, Fathers, Mothers

There are monuments to the fallen
in valleys and on mountains.
We visit them often
so the Brothers aren't forgotten.

But today I wish to remember
all their family members.....
And not just them -
but all their friends.

Friends..... those who care.
They honor us and our Brothers.
Today, I want to honor them
for they should know that we *survivors* care.

And for the rest of my time,
in the eye of my mind,
when I see my Brothers...
I will think also... of you others.

Note: ..... = longer pause than a comma

Copyright June, 1995
Michael S. Viehman
All rights reserved