HALLOWED BE THY NAMES
by Stephen Brown, LT USN, composed after his first visit to the Vietnam War Memorial (“The Wall“) in Washington, DC.
From Dulles Airport I grow impatient
Not knowing my way around.
It has taken all day
Leaning on my cane
To make final roll call at The Wall.
Anguish long repressed now incites
A Mekong coastline, splintered bones,
Shattered futures. At peace, brave ones,
We muster at this destitute,
This blessed knoll.
Amid offspring celebrating credulity
Two black gates loom high in the sky,
A magnificent shrine that enrolls your names
Among forgotten gods.
This vanquished leader weeps in his joy.
Here hobbles the barnswallow
Who once led eagles into the sky. And such
good fortune is more than I deserve.
Consummate honor to you, brothers all,
From the remnants of the spark to my soul.
North Vietnam, 1973
Touching a name on the Vietname Memorial by Skyring at English Wikipedia—Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Estoymuybueno., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1503024