Thursday, August 13, 2015

Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam

Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam is a collection of letters (and a few poems) written by soldiers and nurses who served during the Vietnam War. The editor, Bernard Edelman, did a wonderful job, and I would've written this review sooner, but I picked up another book, Home Before Morning: The Story of an Army Nurse in Vietnam. It was written by one of the contributors to this volume. Edelman follows each letter with a paragraph about the writer of the letter. He mentioned that one writer, Lynda Van Devanter, had written a book about her nursing experience during the war. It's maybe even more amazing than this one, but I have to say both books are for mature readers.The Victors

What will become of us?
There is no answer;
Only the sound of the wind
Moving through dead trees.
And choking dust rising
Beneath our feet.
The furnace burns throughout
The day;
We suffer in agony, as women
In labor.
But we die with the birth, for
Our child is war.
Now we fathers move forward
To meet our fate
In open fields and jungle paths
Strewn with death;
And call on the name of
Our God,
Who will not hear our pleas.
We pile high the dead
Into a pale, bleached mountain,
And swing our bloody bayonets
Skyward to honor the victor,
Who looks through red-rimmed eyes.
And, in time of pain, we die,
And, somewhere other than home,
Our names and faces are one.
Under steel helmets, fear equalizes.
One is one.
What will become of us?
In the end, Valhalla is our hell,
And Heaven is obscured
In our agony of pain.
Homeward-bound in aluminum tubes.
We know that in victory
There lies a promise of defeat.

- Anonymous

Like I said, for mature readers.

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