When I returned from Vietnam and even before I left, I was sickened by the way our troops were treated when they returned from that war. It was as if the public blamed them for the war. In my anger I constructed this poem, which is in the last page of the Vietnam chapter of Turning Final.
I wonder why!
I wonder why, in the dark of night,
When I feel a chill in the pale moonlight
and my mind does things I can scarcely tell
as it asks me why my good friends fell.
In the lonesome thought that has begged for light,
Lo, these many years in the pale moonlight.
Does a nation grieve for her long-lost sons,
who have given all so that she might run?
Does the soul regret lost days and nights
as it hangs in space in the pale moonlight?
Was the quest for freedom worth the price?
“Yes, I’d give my life, and give it twice”
My friends would say who have gone away.
Does a nation understand the sacrifice of the soldier man?
The pain the loss of no more days
to watch his family slowly raise?
Then how much is a soldier worth, when violent people scorch the earth?
We all know freedom isn’t free and the soldier man is you…and me…
All are Patriots one by one, until the call is no more fun.
And there wherewith we all shall stand
the duty finds the lesser man.
So listen up all you out there
who go to church and lend a prayer,
think more of what you freedom cost,
who paid the price and what was lost.
And lend a prayer for those out there.
Duty found the greater man
so those of us who breathe free air
may live a life free from despair.