One bright day in early fall,
I stood before a marble wall,
inscribed with names, heroes all,
some of whom I now recall.
I heard some voices all around,
as I entered sacred ground
in front of Yatsko, Sigholtz, Brown,
Grogan, Allen and others found.
Peering deep in every section,
I saw their faces in my reflection.
Remembering wartime imperfections,
I moved my hand in their direction.
"Touch me", Brown cried from marbled grave,
"Your presence here is all we have.
Forget us not, the young and brave,
who thought we fought for freedom save".
"Touch my name", Mike Yatsko said,
"Free us from the fearful dread
of feeling that no tears were shed
upon passing from our mother's bed".
So, I touched their wailing names,
whose letters rippled like waves of grain.
Then Brian Grogan barked my name,
"KP for you and guard in the rain".
I shook his hand and we embraced,
his Irish eyes and smiling face
so eternally encased
in mirthful youth, which was misplaced.
Then I saw young Bac Si Sam,
my SF medic from Vietnam,
whose Thompson always seemed to jam.
"Ain't worth a damn", said Sam.
"Hey sir", now Sigholtz pressed,
"Don't blame yourself for my distress.
Now I lay me down to rest
because I forgot the Ranger test.
"Damn Bob", don't be forgiving,
for I'm the one who's still living".
"Sir, there's no misgiving,
just bring our friends to where I'm living.
Then Siggy, Brian, Mike and Sam
disappeared from my outstretched hand,
inside the Wall of Vietnam,
with Brown and others from our land.
As they faded into black,
they made a raucous parting crack,
"It's Happy Hour in the back,
time for beer and a little Jack".
Laugh, and cry; weep and pray,
Emotions ran high that autumn day.
And as I tried to turn away,
I heard their haunting voices say…
"TOUCH ME! TOUCH MY NAME!
Give us pleasure from our pain,
Affirm we died not in vain,
And, please, come and visit us again".
In honor of all those who fought in a war for a government and nation that