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This was sent to me by a friend and was written by Major Michael O'Donnell. He was a helicopter pilot with the 1st AVN BDE. He was killed in a helicopter crash in Cambodia.

If you are able

save for them a place
inside of you
and save one backward glance
when you are leaving
for the places they can
no longer go.
Be not ashamed to say
you loved them,
though you may
or may not always.
Take what they have left
and what they have taught you
with their dying
and keep it with your own.
And in that time
when men decide and feel safe
to call the war insane,
take one moment to embrace
those gentle heroes
you left behind

JUDGE ME BY THE FOOTPRINTS I LEAVE BEHIND A story is told about a soldier who was finally coming home after having fought in Vietnam. He called his parents from San Francisco. "Mom and Dad, I'm coming home, but I've got a favor to ask. I have a friend I'd like to bring with me." "Sure," they replied, "we'd love to meet him." "There's something you should know," the son continued, "he was hurt pretty badly in the fighting. He stepped on a land mine and lost an arm and a leg. He has nowhere else to go, and I want him to come live with us." "I'm sorry to hear that, son. Maybe we can help him find somewhere to live." "No, Mom and Dad, I want him to live with us." "Son," said the father, "you don't know what you're asking. Someone with such a handicap would be a terrible burden on us. We have our own lives to live, and we can't let something like this interfere with our lives. I think you should just come home and forget about this guy. He'll find a way to live on his own." At that point, the son hung up the phone. The parents heard nothing more from him. A few days later, however, they received a call from the San Francisco police. Their son had died after falling from a building, they were told. The police believed it was suicide. The grief-stricken parents flew to San Francisco and were taken to the city morgue to identify the body of their son. They recognized him, but to their horror they also discovered something they didn't know. Their son had only one arm and one leg. The parents in this story are like many of us. We find it easy to love those who are good-looking or fun to have around, but we don't like people who inconvenience us or make us feel uncomfortable. We would rather stay away from people who aren't as healthy, beautiful, or smart as we are. Thankfully, there's someone who won't treat us that way. Someone who loves us with an unconditional love that welcomes us into the forever family, regardless of how messed up we are. Tonight, before you tuck yourself in for the night, say a little prayer that God will give you the strength you need to accept people as they are, and to help us all be more understanding of those who are different from us!!! There's a miracle called friendship that dwells in the heart. You don't know how it happens or when it gets started. But you know the special lift It always brings and you realize that Friendship is one of God's most precious gifts! Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us. Show your friends how much you care....

A soldier is someone who trains for a skill we all hope they never have to use.
A soldier salutes and respects the flag that he knows is more than a piece of cloth.
A soldier will leave his loved one's at a moments notice to protect the lives of people he dosn't even know.
A soldier will spend lonely nights in a far away land during the holidays, knowing he is serving the greater good.
A soldier will lay down his life protecting a country where so many care so little about the freedoms they take for granted.
A soldier is the heart and soul of who we really are.
A soldier is someone we all owe a great deal of gratitude.

I received this next article in my e-mail. It may not have anything to do with the Vietnam War, but I beleive it has the right to have its place on this website. It has the right because we as Veterans fought to uphold our freedom and keep our rights as American citizens. What happened at Columbine High School touched the hearts of people around the world. And hit hard at the hearts of Americans. What is the answer to stopping this type of violence?? I really wish I had that answer. But what Mr. Scott said in his testimony really made sense to me. I can remember going to school back in the 50s and 60s. The typical day started out by the teacher leading the class in The Lords Prayer, followed by the teacher reading a verse from the Bible. Then we went on and said the Pledge of Allegiance to our Flag. To this day I know of no one who suffered from that. I think Mr. Scott says it all in his following testimony.


Since the dawn of creation there has been both good and evil in the heart of men and of women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher and the other children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers. The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain's heart. In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA - because I don't believe that they are responsible for my daughters death. Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel's murder I would be their strongest opponent. I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy - it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of that blame lies here in this room. Much of that blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that express my feelings best. This was written way before I knew l would be speaking here today.

Your laws ignore our deepest needs
Your words are empty air.
You've stripped away our heritage.
You've outlawed simple prayer.

Now gunshots fill our classrooms.
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere.
And ask the question "WHY"?

You regulate restrictive laws.
Through legislative creed.
Add yet you fail to understand.
That God is what we need!

Men and women are three part beings. We all consist of body, soul, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our makeup, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual influences were present within our educational Systems for most of our nation's history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historic fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God and in doing so, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine's tragedy occurs - -politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that continue to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our OWN hearts. Political posturing and restrictive legislation is not the answers. The young people of our nation hold the key. There is a spiritual awakening taking place that will not be squelched! We do not need more religion. We do not need more gaudy Television evangelists spewing out verbal religious garbage. We do not need more million dollar church buildings built while people with basic needs are being ignored. We do need a change of heart and a humble acknowledgment that this nation was founded on the principle of simple trust in God. As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes. He did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America and around the world to realize that on April 20, 1999 at Columbine High School - prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your conscience and denies your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA - I give to you sincere challenge. Dare to examine your own heart before you cast the first stone! My daughter's death will not be in vain. The young people of this country will not allow that to happen.

I have to admit that this next poem really touched my heart. It was written by the daughter of a Vietnam Vet. And having children of my own......Well you read it and I think you will understand why.

We are the children of the Vietnam Vet’s;
We are the one’s that will never forget;
We remember our father’s, who were good at heart:
And the day they came back, Men torn apart:
Jumping at noises, that weren’t even there;
Afraid to love and afraid to care;
We wanted to hold them, Oh god how we try;
But we still ask the question, the question is "WHY";
We pray for our children and the children to be;
What happened to our father’s, theirs will never see;
We cry for the dead, for the living too;
Oh dear god, what more can we do;
We are the children of the Vietnam Vet’s;
"YES", We are the one’s that will never forget!!!!!
Written by D. Neely Hayes


In Vietnam, Korea and World Wars Past
Our Men Fought Bravely so Freedom Would Last
Conditions Where Not Always Best They Could Be
Fighting a Foe You Could Not Always See:

From Mountain Highs to Valley Lows
From Jungle Drops to Desert Patrols

Our Sinewy Sons Were Sent Over Seas
Far From Their Families And Far From Their Dreams
They Never Wrote Letters Of Hardships Despair
Only Of Love, Yearning That One Day Soon:

They Would Come Home, They Would Resume
And Carry On With The Rest of Their Lives

The P.O.W.¹S Stood Steadfast
Against the Indignities And Cruelties Of War
They Could Not Have Lasted as Long as They Did
If They Had Relinquished Their Hope That Some Day:

They Would Come Home, They Would Resume
And Carry On the Rest Of Their Lives

Medics, Nurses, and Chaplains Alike
Did What They Needed To Bring Back Life
They Served Our Forces From Day Into Night
Not Questioning If They Would Survive:

They Mended Bones And Bodies Too,
They Soothed the Spirits of Dying Souls

And for Those M.I.A¹S, Who Were Left Behind
We Echo This Message Across the Seas
We Will search For as Long As It Takes
You¹re Not Forgotten And Will Always Be:

In Our Hearts, In Our Prayers,
In Our Minds For All Time

A Moment of Silence, a Moment of Summons
Is Their Deliverance of Body And Soul
To a Sacred Place That We All Know
Deep In the Shrines of Our Soul:

In Our Hearts, In Our Prayers
In Our Minds For All Time


These Immortalized Soldiers Whose Bravery Abounds
They¹re Our Husbands, Fathers, and Sons
They Enlisted For the Duty at Hand
To Serve the Cause of Country and Land:

They Had Honor, They Had Valor,
They Found Glory That Change Them Forever

Men Standing Tall and Proud They be
A Country Behind Them in a Solemn Sea
So Let the Flags of Freedom Fly
Unfurled in Their Majesty High:

In the Sun, In the Rain
In the Winds Across This Land

Years of Tears Has Brought Us Here
Gathering Around to Hear This Sound
So Let the Flags of Freedom Fly
Unfurled in Their Majesty High:

In the Sun, In the Rain,
In the Winds Across This Land

In the Sun, In the Rain,
In the Winds For All Time
Jerry Calow (copyright 2003 )

THE FOLLOWING WERE SUBMITTED BY MIKE STEWERT, 2nd Platoon, 2nd Squad, "B" Co. 3/187th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division.


Have you ever seen a man fly apart in front of your eyes,
his torso disintegrating in a pink-red mist of yellow flame and ripping crescendo of sound.
Everyone diving for cover, fighting for their mortal lives in less time than it takes
for the neurons to fire so as to enable the brain to register
the retinal input, of who-what-where? Some things get lost.
Events swirl into a kaleidoscopic black hole of
noise-pain-smells-mental and physical anguish-and horror—
The human brain cannot keep up, events and time increments are lost, or misfiled.
From that moment forward life becomes a quest for the Holy Grail.
The Grail- "remembering." Remembering that later that same night
you crept back up the hill, crawling, weapon ready,
fingertip white on the trigger— Each twig, or piece of grass
scraping on damp fear-soaked fatigues, sounding like a door slamming.
Poncho in hand, nostrils flared, I used my nose
to smell where the sticky, blood glazed pieces of his flesh lay.
Drawn by the rust-iron smell of blood, I used my hands
to gently put the clammy, cold, pieces of his body into the poncho.
I found his foot still in his boot— the large ball-joint of his hip and thigh—
one of his kneecaps— and an arm, his wrist and fingers stiffened in death—
I failed in my mission that night.
You see my orders were to recover the radios, machine guns,
and M-16's, the rest of those killed dropped during their un-choreographed pirouettes of death.
I failed in my mission because I chose to crawl past the abandoned weaponry to find him.
It took damn near twenty years to find out who he was.
All I could ever remember was that he died on day two of the battle,
and that he was in the Third Platoon.
The next morning I sat in the mud opening a can of C-rations for breakfast,
wondering why all my fingernails were crusted red-brown-
Before one can remember, one must forget.
Sometimes it doesn't take very long.
Yes, I disobeyed my orders.
I had too. I needed to find him!
I had to find him no matter what!
I had to find him
—so he could go home.

Shivering in a poncho liner in pre-dawn light;
the NVA will come soon, if they want to fight.
Boots and pants legs damp from the nighttime dew;
ants in a C-ration can, finishing last night’s stew.
Fumbling for my steel pot, stifling a yawn,
up before daybreak, bitching in the dawn.
Kool-aid in canteens, no sugar to make it sweet,
for killing the taste of stream water, it can’t be beat.
Blackness starts to wane, the first rays of light;
everyone is grateful for the end of another long night.
Less things to be afraid of, less things to fear,
waiting for the sun’s warmth as dawn draws near.
Stillness. Getting brighter, warmth starts to flow inside;
Fighting this war others ran from, self-satisfying inner pride.
Insects feeling the sun’s rays, make noise as if to applaud;
the danger has passed now, some begin to nod.
A chopper somewhere distant, blades spanking the air;
sweat starts to glisten, fingers run through greasy hair.
Wiping off my face, green towel full of gritty sand;
appreciation and fear intermixed, for this tropic land.
Towering trees overhead, branches pay homage to the sky;
what a beautiful place to live, but a horrible place to die.
I wonder if those before me entertained similar thought?
I wonder if we’ll be victorious, and wonder at what cost?
For each man that went there, a price he had to pay,
His body living or dead sent home, his soul is there to stay


A quarter of a century has now passed
since that day I finally left the 'Nam,
returning to The World from a land
filled with anger and so much harm.

The saddest part of leaving after
two tours of dealing with the 'Cong,
was in knowing that so many of my
brothers would not be coming home.

Each Christmas, then on Memorial Day,
and finally the all too noisy Fourth of July,
a part of me that is nestled deep down inside
always finds it hard to feel an emotional high.

To know that a dearest Mom and Dad
will never share that hug and smile again;
yet even worse, that a child of innocence
must always carry that lonely and similar pain.

We left behind in a strange land so very many
who today rest in eternal sleep,
but with His love and the prayers of us all,
He has taken their souls to keep.

Life was stolen, far and away too short
for those who would never return;
but out of this horrible and lengthy war
may the country hope to now learn.

At what cost do we send off our youth
to post in ever so strange a land,
knowing only too well that our presence
can escalate an anger so way out of hand.

Those who make the gravest of decisions
all to often never have to act, such as
he who delivers the burden of conflict,
to sometimes never be allowed to turn back.

The toll exacted from warfare is in itself
both immoral and simply just not right;
a country should never resort to weaponry,
destroying its youth for the sake of a fight.

But as Christmas again draws closer, and
that special day of sharing is again here,
part of my own day will be in remembering
because all of you are held so very dear.

May God shed His grace on thee.

Walter F. Putnam I-CORP 68-69