I awoke this morning

I awoke this morning, as usual almost pain free,
but I know this feeling will be short lived.
Looking in the mirror I don’t recognise who is there.

What happened to my brown wavy hair?
Where did or when did I get this grey hair and receding hairline ?
The grey stubble on my face seems to dull the razors faster than ever before.
My blue eyes look dead and without
The sparkle of youth. God what has happened to me?

As I enter the kitchen,
my compassionate wife of thirty-seven years greets me as always, with a big smile and hug.
All I need now is just a strong cup of coffee to rid me of the matted cobwebs in my brain.

My wife looks deep into my eyes with love and understanding only a Vietnam Vets lover could understand and deal with.
I hear her say “You and Ho were at it again last night ”
I begged for forgiveness for her lost sleep.
She assured me that I wasn’t to worry and asks if there was anything I needed.

What could I possibly need?
God has given an Angel to watch over me.

At first upon my MEDEVAC from Vietnam to Walter Reid Hospital in Washington DC, I have been
through denial, rejection and was disowned by my blood kin and many friends I used to associate with.
I guess I have been told a zillion times to let go of the past, for others have been through what I have and are doing fine.
I have asked God to forgive me,
but I think the Devil has control of my well being.
The flash backs and awakening with the smells of Vietnam Jungles in my nostrils, along with the dead eyes of both friend and foe are ever present, deep in my sub-conscious.

We meet every week on Wednesday morning at 10:AM for our group therapy.
We try to help each other with our perils of life.
One thing we all agree on though is that the Lucky ones are on the Black Granite Wall in Washington DC.
Yes they are lucky for they did not have to return to an ungrateful Nation.
They don’t have to fight for the Medical Services of the Veterans Administration that were promised so many years ago when they were sworn in as member of the Armed forces.

They will never know of the ' Want-a-be’s ' that tell stories of conflicts they were never in, trying to be recognised as one of us, the bewildered Veterans of Vietnam.

I, like so many other Combat Vets, live from day to day wishing it had ended there on the Battlefield, where there was at least Honour among the Dead.

We look at each other and life with the look of the thousand yard empty stare of bewilderment.
I have been jumping to the commands of the Veterans Administration since July 1971 and now with what I have learned, I try to help my Vietnam Friends,
No I try to help my Vietnam combat-worn and fatigued brothers and sisters of Yesteryear.

As you read these memories I have put into words, try and think of all the perils of the wars so many have fought in and try to see that if not for them, would we have what we each have today?

At night when you lay your head down for that peaceful sleep, say a few words of prayer for the past, present and future Veterans of our Great Nation and never forget their sacrifices for all Nations to be free and able to worship the God of their own choice.

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Chuck's wife, Rosie