The Wall

I am a Vietnam vet,
one who has not visited the memorial in Washington yet.
The Wall is a long, linear monument of panel after panel,
each inscribed with name after name – all it can handle.
I happened to see a picture of The Wall on Internet today,
taken at midnight, light reflected in a most striking way.
It seemed unbelievably long – stretching almost out of sight.
So many soldiers killed, perished in their country’s fight.
58,226! Imagine 58,226 corpses lying on bloodied ground.
That’s more than the entire population of many a town!
So many lives cut short, potential never to be fulfilled.
So many friends, family, loved ones missing them still.
Try to imagine all the sweethearts that went unwed,
the children not conceived with their future father dead,
all the little children who grew up never knowing their dad,
the many achievements, successes these men might have had.
These 58,226 answered their country’s call without asking why.
Thinking of their supreme sacrifice always brings a tear to my eye.
At The Wall, people stand and cry, paying tribute to their man.
I’d like to think he hears them...maybe he can...just maybe he can.

Harry Edward Gilleland      05.07.02    printer friendly