By J. Randall O’Brien, February 15, 2015
He came home from Nam
But never made it back.
I saw him last just before
He left for the war.
We celebrated his return
His presence being our only lack.
Cheering glasses were raised
We noticed his eyes and long hair were with us
But not his mind.
After the party he walked to the Vietnam memorial
And killed himself real fine.
From “Three poems 40 years after the end of the War in Vietnam,” Christian Ethics Today, Spring 2015, page 20. J. Randall O’Brien, president of Carson-Newman College in Tennessee following a distinguished career at Baylor University, is a highly respected pastor, scholar, and writer. He served in Vietnam in the 101st Airborne Division and received the Bronze Star and United States Air Medal.
Photograph of Kim Phuc (the “Napalm Girl”), by Nick Ut, June 8, 1972 (AP). http://oivietnam.com/tag/napalm-girl/