A while back, I attended this celebration for the Veterans of the Vietnam War. My mom was working with the Auxillary to put it on and honor those men and women who often don’t receive the kind of thanks that they should. In that ceremony, I was one of the speakers. Doing what I do best (procrastinating) I hadn’t written a speech or a piece of any kind. So, in the fifteen minutes before the festivities started that day, I ripped out a spoke word poem to recite to all of the people at the dinner.
Fast forward, three Jameson + Sprites later and one killer migraine, I jumped into it. It was about a friend I had seen that day talk poorly about the Vietnam Vets and their service. Trying to tell me what “really happened” in Vietnam, through a bunch of political filters and profanity. I got pissed off and told her what for, albeit not very tactfully, but still. I feel like I had a right to be angry. I want to share that piece with everyone.
If you come across a Veteran of any kind today, thank them for their service. The fact that they gave up so much so that we wouldn’t have to give anything up is incredible. Let them know you care, let them know that what they helped protect and preserve is appreciated. It isn’t said nearly enough.
The Hippy, Kent.
I wanted to talk about the sun, and the shine.
But the fun side of life isn’t the only focus.
In the end, we need the bad and the good.
Like a swarm of locusts…
In the sixties, the hippies spoke of peace…
Then turned their backs on the people who fought out east.
Our own infantry left the comfort of their homes to stand in muck,
To help a people waging war on blatantly arrogant… pompous beasts.
The last chopper flew from Saigon, and they returned home…
To a cascade of oppression. The ones who fought and risked their lives…
I couldn’t handle that kind of depression.
Being told that I’m a monster for the things that I’ve done.
And as far as I know, I haven’t saved anyone.
But sometimes, things happen for a reason. The greatest men and women,
Are hardened in the fires of what their enemies believe in.
But I don’t think we saw the enemies, or the people saw no reason,
War is a monster. It doesn’t come gently.
It’s a thrashing beast that plants its seeds,
In every person, in every season.
I’m attracted to the idea of peace. I think we all are.
We keep writing love songs, about how we’ve come so far.
The dove is gone in some, no bird keeper stands to watch.
If I had been there back then, I couldn’t make the sorrow stop.
When I think about it, sometimes I still can’t.
I hold composure over my face and grimace,
When someone tells me what we fight for…
All I hear is anger, unease…
For a hippy, you certainly lack the peace.
In mind that you need to find a system to complain about,
So you pick the ones you couldn’t see, filling our own ears with doubt.
You’re damn right it pisses me off.
Because no monster comes home to find their family, sitting at the table.
Praying, wishing, begging for their loved ones to be safe.
It isn’t the first time that a family has had to wait…
All gave some, isn’t that how the saying starts?
Some days I forget the rest, but I shouldn’t now.
The memory is carved inside our hearts.
If someone stood up to me and said that we are in a foolish war,
I’d look back on you. What we went in there for.
The weight to bear could break the back,
Of a weaker man, who forgiveness, lacks.
If I have one thing to remind you of, it’s this.
Yes. All gave some, but don’t forget who took the fall.
Because they cared about our state so much,
All gave some, but some gave all.
Now you can’t tell me that there is something there to doubt.
Take those seeds that were bred into you mind.
Take the sprouts and rip them out, burn those stalks and find yourself,
A kind, a breed of living that keeps your love, intact.
Because these heroes made it home and found the missing doves.
They didn’t want what happened to be true.
I couldn’t stand to be in their position, could you?
Don’t look at me and say that you have half the courage.
The veterans sitting before me, and many more that I can’t see,
Did their part to save what they believed in.
I wish I had half the courage, or the strength.
Until then, I’ve got a soapbox and a hundred pages that I can speak in.
Because I’ve always believed in the love of people.
Our hearts can put a stamp of trepidation.
Who knows how far we’ve really come?
It won’t take a bit of preparation…
Stand up now, if you can.
Remove your hat.
Salute the people here who found their home inside our basin,
A pot of different colors of people old and young.
A thing that stacked against itself, there’s no replacement.
Today, make no mistake. Those of you who gave so much to help so many.
Those of you from our sometimes brazen, sometimes loving, patient.
You are the souls that I want to model. The energy I want to wade in.
There is nothing in my heart but honor for you.
Honor and love and a silent thankfulness.
A price is paid to protect a nation.
It’s the wartime equivalent equation.
But you returned with graciousness.
A love for your country, baited.
This is my salute to you…
The greatest of their generation.
Thank you for your service. It has been an honor to celebrate you today. There are so many stories to tell and so many pages to read. I’m glad that I have found my way onto all of yours. Thank you.
We all go through a great deal in this life. But always remember…
It isn’t meant to be awful.