After Vietnam

                        AFTER VIETNAM, our soldiers came home.
                        Some were walking; many injured and spent.
                        Many never escaped those horrible nightmares.
                        Surprisingly, many never regretted that they went.
                        Families welcomed them with their love and care.
                        AFTER VIETNAM, no parades, not even a hint
                        of compassion, no welcome home, no accolades.
                        All their pent up emotions, they could never share.
                        Many became homeless, their hopes began to fade.
                        Who would help and how, oh, how would they fare?
                        Still no pats on the back, nor a Ticker Tape parade.
                        Agent Orange very slowly took many to their grave.
                        Today, some honor our Vets and come to their aid.
                        They say, we really meant to reach out to our brave.
                        Now, will you come forward to show love and repair
                        our heroes wounded hearts? This they desire and crave.
                        Come now. Please, open up your hearts, if you so dare.
                        You know, itís not too late, an old Vetís heart to save.
                        Come forward, show yourself and then openly declare
                        AFTER VIETNAM, finally, I will welcome our brave
                        home and let go of my hatefulness with open despair.
                        And now, I will wake up climb humbly out of my cave.
                        What have I been? So very cold and very indifferent.
                        Out for me, me, me. And, yes, it is me whom I adore.
                        Our lives will surely bring changes in the coming days.
                        You ask what about my health? Will I be rich or poor?
                        Sorrow, sickness, even death will one day find its way
                        into your life and will come knocking at your door.
                        It is not too late. Please. Please. Americans, start today.
                        Tell an old VETERAN that you will no longer ignore
                        them. That you are bringing help and smiles their way.
                        AFTER VIETNAM. Remember, to love thy neighbor.
                        Most of all, to love our American heroes that still live.

by Contributing Poet:     Dar Lowry   Copyright © 2016
      ( First published in   2017 )

Bio:   Dar Lowry,  as a kid growing up in rural Midland, NC, he and his siblings did not care about the news of the day. They played ball, chased lightning bugs and had fun. However, their parents were more than interested in the news ó especially the Vietnam War. They did not have any family that served, however, they did have a dear friend that went willingly and returned home safely. Then, Agent Orange came and finally put him to rest. This was very sobering, indeed. Now, as an older adult, Dar has seen the plights of our Vietnam War heroes and how they have been treated as second-class citizens. It is heartbreaking. God forgive us.

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