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If you've ever seen the painting
of the Vietnam Wall in Washington, you've seen
the man standing there with his hand on the wall, mourning
his dead father or brother who was killed.
What he doesn't see is the reflection from the otherside
showing that relative with HIS hand on the wall,
touching the hand of his survivor.
That painting inspired the story that follows.

At first there was no place for us to go until someone put up that
Now, everyday and night, my Brothers and my
Sisters wait to see the many people from places afar file in front of this Wall.
Many stopping briefly and many for hours and some that
come on a regular basis. It was hard at first, not that it's gotten any easier,
but it seems that many of the attitudes towards that war that we were involved in have changed.
I can only pray that the ones on the other side have learned something and more Walls
as this one needn't be built. Several members of my unit and many that I did not recognize
have called me to the Wall by touching my name that is engraved upon it.
The tears aren't necessary but are hard even for me to hold back.
Don't feel guilty for not being with me, my Brothers. This was my destiny as
it is yours, to be on that side of the Wall.
Touch the Wall my Brothers, so that we can share in the memories that we had.
I have learned to put the bad memories aside and
remember only the pleasant times that we had together.
Tell our other Brothers out there to come and visit me, not to say Good Bye but to
say Hello and be together again, even for a short time and to ease that
pain of loss that we all share. Today, an irresistible and loving call comes from the Wall.
As I approach I can see an elderly lady and as I get closer I recognize her.
.......It's Momma!!!
As much as I have looked forward to this day,
I have also regretted it because I didn't know what reaction I would
have. Next to her, I suddenly see my wife and immediately think how hard it must have been for
her to come to this place and my mind floods with the pleasant memories of 30 years past.
There's a young man in a military uniform standing with his arm around her......
My God!......
It' has to be my son. Look at him trying to be the man without a tear in
his eye. I yearn to tell him how proud I am, seeing him standing tall, straight
and proud in his uniform. Momma comes closer and touches the Wall and I feel the soft and gentle
touch I had not felt in so many years. Dad has crossed to
this side of the Wall and through our touch, I try to convey to her
that Dad is doing fine and is no longer suffering or feeling pain. I see my wife's courage
building as she sees Momma touch the Wall and she approaches and lays her hand on my waiting hand.
All the emotions, feelings and memories of three decades past flash between our touch
and I tell her that it's all right. Carry on with your life and don't worry about me......
I can see as I look into her eyes that she hears and understands me
and a big burden has been lifted from her.
I watch as they lay flowers and other memories of my past.
My lucky charm that was taken from me and sent to her by my CO,
a tattered and worn teddy bear that I can barely remember having as I grew up as a child.
Also several medals that I had earned and were presented to my wife.
One of them is the Combat Infantry Badge that I am very proud of
and I notice that my son is also wearing this medal.
I had earned mine in the jungles of Vietnam and he had probably earned his in the Deserts of Iraq.
I can tell that they are preparing to leave and I try to take a mental picture of them together,
because I don't know when I will see them again.
I wouldn't blame them if they were not to return and can only thank them that I was not forgotten.
My wife and Momma near the Wall for one final touch and
so many years of indecision, fear and sorrow are let go. As they turn to leave I feel
my tears that had not flowed for so many years, form as if dew drops on the other side of the Wall.
They slowly move away with only a glance over their shoulder.
My son suddenly stops and slowly returns.
He stands straight and proud in front of me and snaps a salute.
Something makes him move to the Wall and he puts his hand upon the Wall and touches my
tears that had formed on the face of the Wall and I can tell that he senses my presence
there and the pride and the LOVE that I have for him.
He falls to his knees and the tears flow from his eyes and I try my best
to reassure him that it's all right and the tears do not make him any less of a man.
As he moves back wiping the tears from his eyes, he silently mouths,
God Bless you, Dad....
God Bless YOU, Son......
We WILL meet someday but in the meanwhile, go on your way......
There is no hurry.......
There is no hurry at all.
As I see them walk off in the distance,
I yell out to THEM and
EVERYONE there today, as loud as I can,.........
As others on this side of the Wall join in, I notice that the US Flag that so proudly fly’s
in front of us everyday, is flapping and standing proudly straight
out in the wind today..................................

APVNV Pat (Beanie) Camunes
D/4/31 196th Lt. Inf. Bde
TayNinh 12/66-4/67 TamKy 4/67-12/67

The Wall is the only legacy left to so many families and friends of lost loved ones.
If you ever have the opportunity~ please visit The Wall located in Washington DC.
I have personally been there myself~I have touched that Black Granite Wall with my own hands,
ran my fingers across the names. It is a very cold wall, but I could feel the souls on the other side.
I couldn't help but notice all the loving little trinkets left at the foot of the wall, the love is there.
It touched my heart very deeply.
Therefore I dedicate this page to ALL the men
and women who proudly served our country and
lost their lives as a result of their heroic efforts.
May you all find the rest and peace you deserve.
Take care my friends.
Thank God everyday for the Freedom that
Our soldiers gave their lives for.

Please visit the page that I have created for
my adopted POW/MIA'S,
Thomas and Owen:

For more information
on the wall:
A Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Wall

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