Sonnet for the Vietnam Dead
They were but boys, whose lives you threw away.
They went because the country asked them to,
And served a cause their leaders would betray—
Thank Christ they never saw that bitter day.
They lived in holes, and slept in soaking rain,
Grew thin, and sick, and weary through and through.
They knew each day the taste of fear and pain,
And never thought that sacrifice was vain.
And when the touch of death had come around,
To valiant lives forever shaming you,
For love of comrades and by honor bound,
They poured their blood like water on the ground.
And we who loved them, we cannot forget—
And won’t forgive—while breath is in us yet.
Robert A. Hall, a Marine Vietnam Veteran, served 5 terms in the Massachusetts State Senate. He was an Association Executive from 1982 to 2013, retiring due to pulmonary fibrosis for a lung transplant 12/23/13. His 11 books, including two of poetry, Old Jarhead Poems and Share the Cup are here: http://tinyurl.com/n79esoh. Royalties go to charity. He does the Old Jarhead blog.