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  Jackie Kays

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 A Proud Vietnam Vet Until I Die

An old man am I, but
once I was a soldier,
proud, young and ready
to fight and die.

We sang; "American Pie"
They yelled; "We won't go!"
We went to a steaming jungle hell.
They went skiing in the Canadian snow.

Napalm, hand grenades,
Pop flares, bouncing Betty's,
105's,50's, M60's, M-16,
Black rubber bags.
Nomenclatures and numbers we all
knew well.

Camouflage, triage, transfusion,
confusion, delusions, but no
illusion…war is hell!

Nam, Vietnam, in-country,
land of the big B.X.,
freedom flight, hooch,

Buddies, friends, sisters and brothers,
taps from a distant bugle call.
Thousands of names on a black granite wall.
Terms of endearment to us all!

A war long ago they say,
but for those who were there,
it's still fought each and everyday.

An old man am I…
but a Proud Vietnam Vet until I die.

Jackie r. kays

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