The music playing, which can only be heard on Internet Explorer, is from fiddler on the Roof, "Tradition."
My name is Gary Jacobson. I worked in this beautiful Southeast Asian paradise for my rich uncle...my uncle Sammy. Here I am tilling the fields as a combat infantryman with B co 2nd/7th 1st Air cav. War was a horribly traumatic enigma for an entire lost generation. We were the flower of America's youth, who found the toll heavy to bear in body, mind and soul. I was "Gungho Naive" when I arrived "In Country." I returned to my homeland across the pond wounded in body and spirit, disillusioned in many ways that would last a lifetime. I am proud to have served my country, but hope we can learn from the history of this "Undeclared War." I sincerely hope we will not doom our children to fight senseless battles as did we, shackling them to similar fates suffered by their fathers. There is no glory in war...only death and misery! Sometimes war is a necessary evil...sometimes not...sometimes there's Vietnam! My fervent wish is that there be peace evermore, and war-no-more!
A Soldier's LEGACY
Life’s experience is my legacy
But not of lands or gold consistency.
In my time I have seen both birth and death,
Poverty and wealth,
Honesty and dishonesty,
Good and bad philosophy,
The pure heart of charity,
The face of greed,
And the divine seed.
I’ve heard blatant blasphemy,
I’ve been lost,
I’ve needed saving grace to atone.
I’ve seen evil selfishness,
I’ve felt great joy from above,
Deep despair and sadness
I have looked into the face of the grim reaper,
Borne witness to the circle of life keeper.
Like our forefathers, may our children learn,
To walk softly, but carry a big stick.
I offer the wisdom this lesson will return
To know when to walk with softness,
Or the big stick to pick...
For all things there is a time and season.
Living and loving in peaceful harmony with reason
For I have flown with the hawk,
Considered with the dove,
Pondered at length the Master’s love.
I've pondered that Divine legacy
Of great moral integrity,
Bequeathing a fundamental honesty,
Handing down fulfilling spirituality,
This soldier's legacy is always to yourself be true.
For valued dependability must life imbue,
Instilling grand courage,
That of the world's wrong's take umbrage,
Showing patient, loving kindness,
Shored with timbers of complete trustworthiness.
I want my children in this life to be,
Fitting reflections Dear God of thee,
Goodly lives honoring,
In harmony living with loving,
Knowing right from wrong,
With joy singing,
In all you do exude love,
For family, friends, neighbors,
Adhere to that Iron rod,
With love greater than wealth.
For a person can’t fully others love,
They first truly learn to love.
There will come a time
In this world’s rotating rhyme,
When valiant peace cannot intercede,
Cannot undo Great greed's unholy need,
The blooming Armageddon seed
Planted by wicked winds of war indeed.
The past cannot so soon be undone,
For a plethora of heritage’s exist under the sun.
Brave men and true must take a stand,
Draw a finite line in the sand,
Justice for all to demand.
Over that line the oppressing foe
Must never ever go...
For those leading humanity down an ignoble path
Must suffer a good right hand's righteous wrath,
A cursory epitaph of blackened death.
Then, and only then,
Is it time to pick the warrior’s stick!
There will always be madmen in this world,
Malefactors with hating around them unfurled.
My child, the light of innocence around you pearled,
Brave men must rise these evils to stop.
Honorable men must freedom's gauntlet drop,
Perverted ambitions to disrupt,
Immoral machinations to corrupt.
Some men bent on violent destruction
Will not hear your peaceful solution.
These prevaricators hold the truth not in them
For they would spread an ignominious seed,
Of unholy greed that makes good men bleed.
Ominous beasts would the world enchain,
Receive convoluted joy in others pain,
Saddle just with malcontent,
Trample truths held self evident,
Oppress nations without due consent.
Sprouting mutiny’s around the world will always blossom
Kidnapping the light of life to ransom,
Bolting into full scale revolt
That can be quelled only with a mighty thunderbolt.
Honor cannot suffer tyranny
So good men must strike while the iron is hot,
Or lose all good peace has wrought
By blood of patriots on battlefields bought.
With all your might
Stand always ready to fight the good fight.
Stand up for the right.
Answer the call
On which depend societies all.
Sacred freedoms with your life defend
To that life’s very end.
My child, there will always be pathways to choose,
And for every choice there are dues
You must pay.
There's the easy way,
The hard way,
The fun way,
The right way,
the wrong way,
your friend’s way,
The ever popular low way,
My way or the highway.
Sometimes mid life's mortality
It takes the greatest bravery
To turn the other cheek,
To walk in the footsteps of the Master meek,
With forbearing meek and mild
Bearing simple innocence of a child.
Good men must peaceful seeds sow,
Winnowed in winds that fiercely blow,
To with pure hearts quell the greater foe,
Replacing angered hearts so peace can grow.
A “police action,” the bureaucrats called it,
But there sure was a lot of misery
Caused by this little “police action” gambit.
It didn’t seem like a simple, no account in history,
“Police action” to me,
No, not one little bit.
I’m guessin’ that’s cause I was the one gettin’ hit
With a load of Vietcong shi_,
Uh, scrap metal...
I and my buddies were the ones toeing the line,
Even if the line’s constantly moving all the time.
And everywhere you looked people were trying to kill
This Washington combat shill
Who’d gotten himself tangled in deep dished swill
Left with enough heartache a lifetime to fill.
I came to this place
Pride emblazoned on my face,
Glowing with love of God and country
Honoring freedom distilled from patriotic ancestry.
I came for honors glorious precept to fight
For freedom’s star spangled right
For a people oppressed
By an evil enemy possessed.
I came to defend Nam with my all.
I answered the call.
I could have shirked,
Like a hundred other jerks,
but I put life limb and liberty on that blasted line
Saw brave men fall for that bastion of strength shrine.
But some bureaucrat of little mind
Who sure as heck didn’t have his rear in a bind,
Did the efforts of all my combat brothers demean
Might as well through my heart an arrow sling.
They called our efforts in Nam a “police action...”
I hope some administrative official over that one
Had deep and abiding satisfaction.
To see American boys
In this “police action” bleed and die,
Cause a generation of mothers to cry.
While government officials look the other way and sigh,
Thankful that they didn’t have to be the ones
Carrying the guns,
Having to bleed and die.
Washington didn’t even have the guts
Of a bowl of salted nuts,
To call this hellish war, a war...
That’s what I was fighting for,
And for that, 33 years later, I’m still sore.
That Nam conflagration
That rocked a nation
Was no damned “police action.”
It was not a patriotic aberration
Happening in some far away distant civilization.
I say to that callused administration,
Governed by corporate conglomeration.
It happened to us...
We should have received accolades harmonious
For our sacrifices,
Not protesters jeers acrimonious
Certainly not a nation we fought and died for ignoring us.
Our service and sacrifice were not ambiguous.
Naive boys next door, just doing our duty,
Maintaining patriotic accountability
Just want the war we gave our lives for
To be recognized as more
Than a troubled “police action,”
Bearing blame for outcome dissatisfaction...
Not quiet anymore, we stand proud
Demanding our due
From our beloved red, white and blue!
I have seen some vets who served in the Vietnam era, not "lucky" enough to take the big tour of the Nam, harrassed by Vietnam vets because they didn't face the bullet with their name on it up close and personal. These Americans answered the call to arms but were called to serve stateside, in Germany, or Okinawa. These men are indeed our brothers, just as those rear echelon troops who served as cooks or office personnel, or mechanics away from the fighting...away from the dieing. It is time for a healing...reuniting...brothers arm-in-arm with brothers...
AMERICAN WARRIORS ALL
Through pictures and poetry take a walk in "the park" with the 1st Air Cavalry on combat patrol. Experience the chilling reality that will give you the taste of "the Nam" on your tongue, leave the pungent smell of "the Nam" in your nostrils, and imbed textures of "the Nam" in your brain as though you were walking beside me in combat.