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~i'm no hero~

by Gary Jacobson © 2000

The lady said, ďHeroes sit here,
In our most honored chair,Ē
ďI donít mean to sound insincere,Ē
I replied, ďbut where do I sit,Ē
ďBecause Iím no hero. No, not a bit.
I just went where my country told me to go.
There was no question, there was no pause,
Nothing there that should merit applause.

Iím no hero!
Just because into the breach of hell I did go.
For men of honor have no choice
Than to join in the shout with freedomís voice
I didnít think about it, I just went,
To join the army of soldiers sent...
Wouldnít anybody?

Iím no hero!
I would rather not have had to go,
If there was another way I donít know.
Sure, Iíve got a purple heart for the time I bled.
People saw me then, thought Iíd soon be dead.
But I survived the war winds foulest blow.
Escaped the master of death in embattled mist below.

Iím no hero!
I just slugged it out with Charley toe-to-toe,
I crossed his deadly path
Still feel his demonic wrath
His bullets incessantly stinging
Feeling incessant tearing forever shedding
In my soldierís wearied mind,
Honoring buddies left behind!
Though the warís now blowing in the wind,
Heart and soul still rend.

Iím no hero!
For then I felt no fear I now intimately know.
Now I dream of rogue bullets that deathís questions ask,
Killing their favorite task...
I see in dreams where through fetid jungle they tore
Doing their killing chore,
So quick, so clean, sweeping past
Memories suck me in from future cast,
Forever changing moods lightning fast,
Forever taking lives, yet not the last...

Iím no hero!
I simply had a duty when called to go
I didnít back down, but quelled the foe.
I swore with all might to try
To Godís bidding do, or die!
Because I loved my country more than life
Vowed to follow behind patriotís drum and fife.
To win freedoms to which forefathers clove
Undead regiments with youthful principles war drove!

Heroes are men endowed with great courage,
Who with great strength sway bloody fields of carnage.
Heroes are men of bold exploits favored by God,
Bearing noble purpose born of native sod.
Iím just an ordinary man who saw his duty,
Who answered a call to arms to defend beloved liberty.

Iím no hero, as you can plainly see.
When the roll was called to stand for their country
I stood...thatís all!
I did nothing special that honor on me should befall.
In Vietnam I did a little walking,
A little sweating, A little bleeding,
Almost dying
A purple heart earning
Some call A ďMove too slow awardĒ
That near cut lifeís silver cord.

I'm no hero, for I did nothing witty nor wise
Iím just one of the countless little guys
Who faced daily warís evil eyes...
Doing his duty against war's bestial ogre cunning
Demons within and without constantly fighting
Hoping, searching, fearing, humping
Marching with thousands of brothers-in-arms alongside
Through valley's shadow where patriotic spirits guide.

Iím no hero...
Though for uncle Sam seeds of war did sow
Bearing patriotic heritage planted long ago.
I faced warlord Ho Chi Minhís fiery breath,
Deep and deeper into bowels of shadowed death.
With vengeance he'd banished freedomís light,
Cast unwelcome caresses of wars despicable blight.
Good men of conscience had that despot to stop,
Proclaim bastions of freedom on every mountaintop.

Iím no hero...
Just another war-torn Joe,
Whose warrior soul arose above cannonís roar,
Like eagles, young men's brave spirits soar,
Bearing naive and gung-ho this boy next door,
Above a soil enriched with soldiers seeping blood,
Getting down and dirty in Namís mud.

They say war measures the depth of a hero
Young boyís ruin mid thundered guns aglow,
Just links in the chain
Sent duty to retain, freedom to proclaim
Growing acts of war like cancer in the brain
A new set of senses war does indelibly ingrain,
Combat infantrymen fates defy
Virulent beasts raging inside till the day I too die.

Iím no hero!
Not at all like Rambo.
To this day living with war etched into my lifetime
Always watching for movements out of rhyme
Ever listening for sounds that donít belong,
Always with the feeling somethingís wrong.
I still roam triple canopied jungle where I lost the boy
In elephant grasses lost much of lifeís joy.
Neither wine nor advances of withering sun
Can ever warm a cold, heated year of the gun.

Iím no hero!
Just because I stepped into warís inferno.
I was raised believing you answered when called,
To go somewhere where freedom's were galled
For a noble allegiance the young owed
To shoulder a nation's heavy load
To honor a sacred duty forsworn,
The clarion trumpeted an obligation born,
To win the red badge of courage, proudly worn.

Vietnam was a duty you could not with honor refuse.
Respect for goodly values I will always choose
There was no choice but to do it, or self esteem lose,
For their comes a time when you have to pay your dues
To beloved honor uphold
To keep this the land of the free and bold
For country, for neighbors, for family, for God...for self!
So no maíam, Iím no hero!


I received a reply regarding this poem, "i'm no hero," which reached down and touched me to the core, and writing this through rivers of tears would share it with you, from a lovely lady I know only as Grandma...

Nay, young man, sit over there,
In our dedicated hero's chair.
While people here at home just cried,
While Uncle Sam to nephews lied,
While mothers' hearts were sorely tried,
YOU went to 'Nam and nearly died.

You dealt with gore, you dealt with blood,
You dealt with Vietnam's stinking mud,
You dealt with Charley's stinking breath,
You dealt with every buddy's death,
You were there, and I was not,
I wish I had the guts you've got.

When you got home, you were denied,
The righteous warrior's winning pride.
Your naive innocence forever gone -
No, I don't want to hear it, son.
You just get comfy over there,
In our dedicated hero's chair.

One thing you don't understand
About what makes heroic man.
Heros, too, are oft afraid,
But scared or not, what makes them brave
Is that no matter what the cost,
They do the job they know they must.

With no excuses, no denying,
No appeals, no whining, crying
About "Why me?" and "Why not Joe?"
You went where you were told to go.
You did what must be done out there,
So you go sit in that there chair.

While you were gone, I stayed in school
And heard the loud, protesting fool
Who tore our country near asunder
Ranting in a voice like thunder,
Who burned the great Red, White, and Blue,
Mocking, hating, men like you.

None of them had ever fought.
You were there and they were not.
You saw the horrors of the war
While they reviled you from afar.
I hate to disagree with you,
But you're a hero, tried and true.

So I'll bring cookies, milk, and cheer
And keep you company out here.
The kids will stand around in awe
As you tell stories of the war
And maybe, when your tales are done,
YOU'll know you are a hero, son!

"Liaision, Internet Military Community"

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