1st Air cavalry under fire beside rice paddy dike 173rd Airborne fording river at Ben Cat

Song playing: Demcuoi, The Last Night

Reading now and again the words from you my brothers and sisters...
I am touched...reminded of messages we bring and share.
You shook my soul, and these words just now came tumbling out.
If this poem seems especially dark, remember that anniversaries
of significance to Veterans often have great effect...and
April 22, 2004 was the 37th anniversary of the time I was wounded
in RVN, beginning a round of 14 months in hospital.

All pictures on this page by Combat Photographer, Henri Huet,
born in Dalat, Vietnam, served in Vietnam as a combat photographer
with the French, 1949 to 1952, during the first Indochina conflict.
Once wounded by shrapnel as he photographed U.S. Marines at Con Thien,
Huet was later killed when his helicopter was shot down over Laos in ‘71,
a place we officially never were...Huet was 43.

Mingling with the Dead
by Gary Jacobson © April 2004

I mingled with war’s dead in fields of combat today
Fallen dumb with pain in contentious battle’s fray
Visiting but for a moment, numbered among the dead
Tethered on a silver thread that back to “the world” led.
I see still through eyes, still vacant,
Riding on clouds above, caricatures of men by neighbors sent
Pale pall lays stark upon countenances that anguish cannot hide
From dissolute war's hatreds that leave mouths gaping open wide.
Men around me laid crumpled, rumpled, distraught afore
Piled haphazardly one on another, red-stained fruits of war
Warriors' vibrant mortality this war's robbing
By the grim reaper beaten, no longer with life throbbing.
Soldiers changed by war to lifeless mannequins now
Torn pitiably, before that great abyss bow
Broken bodies frozen so still where they lay
Leaking souls, no more on tortured earth to stay.
Creation's ripped from life by cruel death's somber rejection
Products of war’s craft lie dead in final agitation
Gaping, screaming mouths, abject terror displayed
Tossed in fetal positions where devastating war laid arrayed.
The dead no longer hear life-giving reveille to them calling
Nevermore to answer its chilling cadence down spines shrilling
In demise fading, passing obscure in thin cold mist
Beclouded by mortal agony in frozen pain kissed.
Primal screams shriek a final death knell toll,
Over dying men no longer naïve nor gung-ho,
No honor but death coming to these veterans beatified
Nevermore smiles painted by death petrified.
1st Air cavalry at Bong Son
Then I awoke! Arisen, I shake off death's hoary beast
From that most cruel captor, once again released
Again escaped in memory...though I feel intimately its cost
Will I be so lucky tomorrow...or join the brotherhood lost?

1st Air Cavalry during Operation Thayer II 1st Air Cavalry calling in airstrike during Operation Masher

Nam’s Diatribe
by Gary Jacobson © April 2004
1st Air Cavalry during a mad minute
Nam’s Diatribe
Today lives on within me
Today, its abusive aura still haunts me
Today, its bitter taste still terrorizes me
Coloring all present events with its knowing
Firmly planted in the past, yet today still growing
Propagating seeds of discontent sowing.

Nam’s Diatribe
Shares dreams of ghastly war to which our young imbibe
To which unfortunate innocents even today ascribe
Forever reliving Nam’s bitter memory inconclusive
Forever questioning young “boys next door” grimly abusive
Delving the depths of praise and denunciation
Boiling over unceasingly since that war’s very creation.

Nam’s Diatribe
Brave men still find it hard to fully describe
Realistically sparking learned discourse,
Knowing you never really know unless you were there,
See the dying from rankled detractors, of course
Giving questioning lectures without remorse
Talking as if they knew well the source...

Nam’s Diatribe
Did hating around too young hearts circumscribe
With cruel war to fragile senses most intensive
Repetition wearing away death’s fears apprehensive
Over time, this grim pastime wars to the young give
Forever Nam’s boys relive its streaming invective
Remembering still, buddies gathered souls collective.

Know this, that wars are just a consuming Diatribe
To which young boys gung-ho naïve did once subscribe
Challenging the best of efforts to describe
Forever boring holes in their souls
Forever distorting “the world” around them now whole
Embedding forever a new set of senses
Memories forever refracted through veteran eye lenses.

1st Air cavalry under fire, calling in artillery

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