We Remember By Harold R. Winton

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 We remember a far-away country we had to look up on a map

We remember the repple depple

We remember the pungent odor of nouc mam sauce and the acrid smell of burning diesel fuel

We remember the heat, the cold, the wet, the dry, the dust, the mud, the rain, the sun

We remember the rats, the snakes, the lizards, the leeches

We remember the colorful ao dais in the cities – and the black pajamas in the boonies

We remember courage – and we remember fear

We remember comradeship – and we remember loneliness

We remember waiting for mail call, the longed-for letters, the bruising disappointments

We remember C-rats – and LRRPs when we could get them

We remember P-38s, heat tabs, Tabasco sauce

We remember the very different sounds of outgoing and incoming – and the very different feelings that came with them

We remember our sudden alertness when we heard the radio crackle, “Hot LZ”

We remember heavy rucks that tore into our shoulders – and light rucks after six days out with no resupply

We remember the carefree joys of R & R – and the pain of having to go back

We remember hacking through thick bamboo, climbing steep mountains, wading across flooded rice paddies

We remember finding Mr. Charles – and Mr. Charles finding us

We remember Hanoi Jane and Hanoi Hannah – and some of us remember the Hanoi Hilton

We remember those who waited – wives, children, sweethearts, buddies, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers

We remember their quiet courage, their stalwart strength, their hopes, their fears, their joys, their sorrows – and we remember that they were every bit as heroic as the bravest of us were

We remember the quiet, tender embraces on the airport tarmac and the joyous reunions that followed

We remember too much blood and too much death 

We remember our friends who didn’t come back

We remember their loved ones all dressed in black

We remember a wall on our capital’s mall

We remember the names

We remember the faces

We remember

                                               © Harold R. Winton 2019