We Came to Nam
by Richard Reith

We came to Nam
From all corners of the world,
Filled with piss and vinegar,
Bravado and braggadocio.

We came to Nam
From farms and ghettos,
Cities and villages,
             Different countries and cultures.
About to be bonded
In ways we couldn't imagine.

We came to Nam
Young believers.
Ready to beat the world.
They never told us
            The world was ready for us.

With hormones oozing from every pore,
We wouldn't have listened anyway.

We came to Nam
Teenagers and twenty-something's,
Mature and immature,
Married and single-wild.
Giving up our precious youth,
To a cause they said was right,
Never understanding what we were giving up.

We endured.

Somehow,
we endured.

Through hours of boredom
And moments of terror
We endured.

We left Nam
Different than those who came.
Bonded forever
With people we never knew.
For we had all been to the mountaintop.
Different mountains,
Different heights,
Same view
Of Satan's Promised Land.

We left Nam
To move into the future.
Some, with eyes facing forward,
Hopeful, determined,
Thankful for the gift of life.
Some moving forward
By walking backwards,
Eyes firmly focused
On those seminal events
   That would forever define their lives.

For them,
Nam won.



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Copyright © 2007 - Richard Reith
Published: 5/10/07   ·  Author's Page   ·  Next Poem