The Vietnam Memorial 1991

It was 1991 and I finally worked up the courage to visit the memorial in Portland. I wrote down these observations back then and thought it appropriate on this day and another war.

I walked that circular path to 1968-1969
With my arms around me,
Barely holding on.

There between Lonnie D. Moore and Gary B. Hogson in white letters
Is the name of my fraternity brother Max F. DeSully, Jr.
And I lost control.

I stared through tears at the black-mirrored surface
Filled with death.

Life came walking near and reflected color through the pain:

A couple walked up and picked out Edward L.Handy.
“Please tell me about him.”
“He’s from Salem”, she said.
”He wouldn’t back down from anybody”, said he.
“Do you have someone here?”

Two young boys stared at the dead boys’ names.
“I’m 13 and he’s 11”. He said to my question.

The couple walked up together, hand in hand.
He stood silently and stiffly as he captured the name
from the wall.
And then walked off alone.

Terry L. Thompson

“I went to school with him”, he said.
And he squatted and ran his fingers across his name.
He was quiet as if in silent prayer.
When at last he walked away, he stopped and briefly
looked back and remembered.

Soon enough, as I sat alone and saw my reflection amidst the names
The tears came no more.
I said goodbye to Max for now.

3 Responses to “The Vietnam Memorial 1991”

  1. The “wall” is a very powerful emotion grabbing structure. Lucy and I walked along it while in Washington DC. My daughter gave us a copy of the now famous painting, the one where the ghosts of fallen soldiers reach across and through the veil of death to their living brothers in arms. Thank you for this post.

  2. Mike,

    Max was an upperclassman at high school. He was not only nice, he was smart, talented, athletic. He was in honor society and played varsity basketball and varsity golf.

    I didn’t know he was killed in Viet Nam until your post.

    He was one of the heroes who died to help the Vietnamese. The millions killed in the genocide in Cambodia and the shameful abandonment of the Vietnamese boat people are not on his conscience.

  3. Terrance, thanks for your comments about Max

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