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Women of Valor


I am a Vietnam combat veteran, Airborne.
My luck ran out in I Corp, 1969.
The medivac took us to Camp Eagle.
My brothers, four dead, twenty two wounded.
The NVA tried to over-run us at 4 am.
We held them off, but paid the price.

I may have been the least serious wounded.
I was still standing, bleeding from both ears.
Just a sprinkle of shrapnel, no sweat GI.
As I stood in that triage, watching.
You hurriedly cut off pants, shirt and boots.

I had never seen such bloody carnage.
Not in my worst nightmare, until now.
Yet you all worked calmly and quickly.
Inspecting and sorting these wounded, with great care.
My brothers, in such pain, but safe now with you.

I regret, I never knew you my sisters.
A lifetime has passed, but at long last.
I have found you, in a book of your poems.
I thought you were just angels.
And returned to heaven, after the war. I’m sorry.

When I read of your pain, nightmares and loss.
Your words become mine. Your thoughts are my thoughts.
We are kin, you and I, jointly fit by war.
Brother and sister of the same ugly parents.
Separated at birth, only to meet for a moment in time.

I wish I could have held YOUR hand.
When you needed to hear, “It is going to be alright”
You gave of yourself until there was no more to give.
You gave it all so that others may live.
There are no words to thank you for that.

Yet, thank you my sister, my poet warrior.
I will never forget that day, nor you.
My words are inadequate, the night is far spent.
But I can’t turn back the clock.
See you at heavens gate, where angles meet.
And there will be no more war.

Ed Matyjasik
A 2/502Infantry
6/69 - 6/70