Pity me not, shed not a tear. The tears of today, spring from the well of memories of long ago. The memories of a boy not running from the past, but a man-to-be striding toward tomorrow.
A long way from home this place in the sun. I came not to conquer. I need no awards, there will be no heroes made today. I can stand with my head held high. I faced the demons and gave not a step. I held the hand of the dying, then alone – I wept. Two boys died that day. One became a memory – a flag to be tossed in a closet, the other no longer a boy – not yet a man.
The days stretched into forever. Reality was today, home but a dream. Through eyes scarred by reality, the boys of ‘67 passed through the portals of time. Survival is the key. Close the doors to reality. Live in the dreams of youth to mask realism of war. Each boy that passed through the door of my chopper shared a common thread. Some would survive, some would give their all – let their mother morn.
Death was not an issue, but it was a gift I would give. I come not to die. The shuttering helicopter beneath my seat was as real as the blood beneath my feet. Night and day the carnage came. There was no relief no pause to have. On we flew that chopper and I – with us was mercy. We carried hope, we furnished care – sometimes we just furnished their last ride home.
Gone now are the days of fright. Even though they return in the night. It is the price I’ll pay. I brought relief to those in need. I gave comfort to those I could. I prayed for those in need. I cried for those who knew not.
I have no regrets for the memories that I endure. I share the ordeals of men across the ages. We came, we gave, we cared.
Mike this brings back memories of flying with you and John. I always looked to the brave faces of you two when ever we flew Medivac missions out of Dong HA July-September 67. The Crew Chief stare was unlike us Corpsman who put our courage on you and John’s shoulders. We looked brave but we were not that’s why we never looked up!!