Vietnam Memorial


Tender hands trace the cold stone

She looks at his name with empty eyes

Born an orphan

No hands to cradle

No tears at the prom

No arm to walk down the aisle

A faint comfortable voice

Lost in the darkness of the womb

His name among thousands of others

The only glimpse of his face

Is the reflection of her own

Around his etched name.

4 Replies to “Vietnam Memorial”

  1. My father was killed in Vietnam when I was 2 1/2 years old, so I connect with what you have written. Thank you for a powerful reflection. I would be interested to know how you became inspired to write this poem – would you be willing to share?

    1. Laura,

      Thank you for commenting. I have been a little hesitant to put my poetry on this blog so your comment is an encouragement to me. Some time in the late 90’s I don’t remember when exactly I was visiting the memorial with some friends from seminary. We had taken pictures in other places but when standing at a certain angle to the wall I could see really good reflections of the people in the wall. One in particular stood out to me, a woman closer to the wall running her fingers across a name and I could see the reflection of her face around that name she was touching. I snapped a quick photo at the time. Later I tried to think of what she may have been thinking or what I understood had happened to so many during that time, including yourself. I think our service families make so many sacrifices and often we hear so little about the questions that remain unanswered for so many spouses and children of our veterans who paid the ultimate price. I may never know what this woman was thinking but I hope to have honored the memories of some and perhaps provide a glimpse into that world. Thank you for sharing.

      1. Thank you for this ‘behind the scenes’ look, as it demonstrates such a tremendous sensitivity and discernment on your part. Indeed, I am grateful for your conviction to write and post these insightful words!

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