Music by George Jones, "50,000 Names on the Wall."

Names Carved on the Wall

by Gary Jacobson © February 2008
The Wall singleredrose
Oh the names carved on that long black polished wall
Honor the bravest heroes of all
My heart stops to count their blessings
Throbbing inconceivable in my head glad praisings
For those terminally wounded in the Central Highlands
Lying in blood-soaked death in Coastal Lowlands
On the razor's edge ... so wearied ... so bloodied
Nourishing the Nam with precious seed.
Now standing lonesome vigil at the wall night and day
Their spirits surround me as I kneel to pray.

58,000 names adorn that burnished wall
Etched in silver amid blackened pall for us all
Men from vietnam who wear the victorís crown
Freedomís wreath in acclaimed renown.
They fought and died for us. Honor them!
Our beloved sons, Americaís brightest diadem
Royal princes bearing noble power in dignity
Who paid the supreme sacrifice for liberty.
Oh Lord, it could have been me there...
But for the grace of God, should have been me there.

The long black wall houses spirits of the fallen brave
Sent forth in glory our country to save
Their sweet spirits today their Master grace
Still the armyís venerable dogface
Manning new battle stations served on the wall
Guarding precepts of freedomís service for us all
Spirit's in the wind around that hallowed place
Step forward ... their courageous spirit embrace.
Oh Lord, it could have been me there...
But for the grace of God, should have been me there.

Hold fast to boys who fell at bloody Ia Drang
Becoming men as bullets around them rang
The harvest of our embattled sons from Quang Tri
To the last firebase on the DMZ
Countless men met their maker slam-bang
In sweat and blood lifeís last sweet refrain sang
This band of brothers who battled there
Martyrs struggling through deep despair
Remember their sad eyes crying
As the light passed from their eyes dying.

Revere the memory of that valiant man
Etched on a black-granite wall from Vietnam
Who died horribly at Kontum
Who fought for you midst mist and gloom
Fighting on because ... simply, he must
So many returned from whence they came, to dust
Their young lives torn ... bruised
Anteed up to battle abused.
It's painful to remember, but we must never forget
Coming out of the treeline, with that hot sun backset.

Now they're just names numbered on the wall
Army, Air Force, Navy, deserving honor from us all
Stouthearted, bold, Marines
Lean and mean fighting machines
The First Team, 1st Air Cavalry gave their lives at Khe Sahn
Blistered by withering rockets in the final dawn
Soldiers of the right facing egregious wrong
Warriors killed in the flower of youth at Bong Song.
Oh Lord, it could have been me there...
But for the grace of God, should have been me there.

Shed a tear for men who died, on Hill 285
Men on A Shauís Ripcord fighting just to stay alive
To hellís onslaught survive
Brave men died in battles from Bien Hoa to Pleiku
Here on this wall lay the brave, the proud, the few
Who answered the call from Phan Thiet
Into the voracious maw of guns of Tet
You bet!
Oh Lord, it could have been me there...
But for the grace of God, should have been me there.

Remember The Rockpile, leach valley, Operation Thayer
Where was said that last rights prayer
Oh the memories abound
Telling frightful, fearful sound
Recall the Mekong Delta Riverine
Toughest fighting men the Namís ever seen
Those valiant men starkly named on the wall
Men of the Swift Boats who died in murky pall.
Part of them's still back there, humping Vietnam to keep
In the arms of brothers we still weep.

Rest now, in peaceful rest
Numbered with the best
On that long black wall
Men of the Brown Water Navy still standing tall
Men in countless villages Tuy Hoa to Nha Trang
Laid low in shadow near Phan Rang
Warriors fighting from Dak To to imperial Hue
Gave their dear lives there, back in the day.
Oh Lord, it could have been me there...
But for the grace of God, should have been me there.

Remember men who'd just begun to live...
Who breathed their last precious breath on earth
Lost in battleís dearth
Who freely gave their life, to awful death
Falling along the banks of the Perfumed River
In sweet-and-sour mist gave their forever
Screaming the primal scream in exquisite pain
Cold, abandoned, lonesome in Monsoon rain.
Oh Lord, they've finally come home from that bloody melee
To sheltered rest now in the arms of history.

Oh the names carved on a long black wall polished
Etched in silver from Nam's blackened pall burnished
These bravest heroes abide no longer alone
Charred souls bloody, weary, lost, tired to the bone
Through pain and sorrow they do atone
With 58,000 brothers at their Saviour's throne
Now just resting there, you see
To see if their bloodshed kept you free
A shining symbol of liberty...
Oh Lord ... it should have been me.

Purple Heart vetsNwall Purple Heart

He Lies back There

by Gary Jacobson © December 2007
Now out of sight to all but God
Lies that man I killed Ďneath bloody sod
Beleaguered now where warís horrors lay hidden
But he comes haunting with unholy stare bidden
Roaming nightly,
This visage unsightly
His moaning ghost on me obsessing
Dredging up fitful remembering of times depressing
Gouging long-hidden memories till light morningís behest
He returns back to eternal somber rest.

My fated enemy lies back there
Without worldly care
Where a young boy killed in wanton times of despair
His spirit a nightly visitor, the dusky man I killed
Crumbling in gratuitously cruel dust in combat drilled
Forever haunting my darkness
Laid captive to rot in graves spoiled bleakness
Captured forever in my heartís somber blackness
Moldering where he fell. Still! Dead!
His cankered body the worms fed.

I see him marching from darkened night
Restlessly on shadowed dreams filled with fright,
I see him whenever the lights go low, it seems
Wilding with cankered worms when memory careens
Beckoning to march solemn formation with them
Passing in nightly review beside him,
To march with this army of the dead
Before whose scourge all sanity fled
Ghostly visitors from whom all lifeís bled...
I still see bullet holes leaking red.

He lies so still under vaulted blue sky
Nurturing green fields of Nam where he did die
His Vietcong essence fertilizing rice-paddy mud
Given his all to gun and blood
Heedless toloved oneís mourning cry
Decaying verdant jungles where he does now lie
Haunting with supernatural visit obsessed. Why?
I wonder where this melancholy man will go...
Will heaven or hell his deeds toll?
Will anyone remember his bounty to bestow?

Feral weeds adorn the rotted, worm-bound tomb
Planted in fields where ravages of war once did loom
Dust covers his forlorn grave
Where I, sent forth the world to save
Tore him from his family mid warís insanity,
Tore from him his soul, in mankindís inanity
Killed him why? So peace might bloom...
Planted his humanity in bricky cold doom
Laid him low in times of frail lifeís care
When weary young minds the fabric of life tear.

His ghost in morning light to grave returns
Till another night his haunting adjourns
Where deathís demise tethered him
Eternally singing the reaperís solemn hymn
Returning always to where he lies
Visage gazing into starry skies
countenanced in final rest of death
Below where he tasted final earthborn breath...
His skinís leathery tautness
Dried on brittle bones as ancient papyrus.

This man of unholy war
Torn violently in cruel days of yore
Torn from those whom adore
Ripped rapaciously
Malevolently from heart and home
Now rusted the color of ashes and bone
Thrown kneeling before the devilís throne
Before God mortal sins to atone

Remember squeezing killing trigger on human infidelity
Boyish laughter lost in a finite moment of humanity
Teetering warís absurdity on the balance of human integrity?
Remember when you shoveled dirt to him embrace
To cover a grotesquely pain-shaped face
So you couldnít see killingís work so vilely base
The reward of deathís ignominious disgrace
Dust filling the gape of his pursed mouth
Stilling forever the silent sound of carefree youth
Stilled forever, still wildly uncouth.

Can you see the animal rising in you?
Can you see it, struggling to get through?
Flying on gossamer wings
Remembering darkning times where the very air sings
vvv Arm-in-arm with foes to justify
Harms committed satisfy
Past ghosts, dancing again with Vietcong hosts
Who at end of day relents, to warís carnivore submits.
Who no matter how long in life he lives...
Never really lives

In the midst of Affliction

by Gary Jacobson © July 2007
In the midst of mine affliction
Thrust into warring worldís of dereliction
Left behind fields strewn with Cong carrion
Vile death all round reigning supreme
Tossed into this irreverent world to blaspheme
Weary of this wanton war passing unclean.

I am war, the prideful master of death
The usurper of humanityís last breath.
Bearing the war weapons of the conqueror
My duty pledged in defense of the holy emperor
Challenging worthy values in senseless gore
Flourishing in gardens of the almighty god of war.

Grant me now discerning power mid warís destitution
Bless now thine son, Oh Lord, with thine Divine conviction
Make my course bold with truth in duty bright
That I may truly hold thy scepter of righteous light
Brandishing light to chase away the darkness
To sweep away this fetid night of bleakness.

On bended knee, I come before thee Lord
With prayer to wield a more righteous sword
With hope to forsake this pawn of greed
With faith to put off this sanctimonious seed
To forego wielding hatredís anger extreme
Bowing to the Devilís great scheme.

I am a soldier in freedomís army. A soldier
A plowman to mark the way before, in strength mightier
The leading vestige of a free democracy
First to wage the good fight for right theocracy
Catapulted into the face of war in unbridled youth
Thy bastion of honored truth.

Oh, I toss down my warriorís gauntlet
Take upon me Godís gloried amulet
Bearing the mighty arm of a nationís right
Mine armour a bastion of truth in light
Mine shield defending against slings of the wicked
Sword and buckler deflecting warmonger arrows insipid.

I wear the helmet of the Saviourís warrior
Manifest in mine crusade for Christian behavior
Sitting atop a high hill, defending right from wrong
My message heard by the world in angelic song
This holy nationís vestal right
The oppressed standing again under righteous might.

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