[ my beautiful vietnam ]

by lt. mac

He and the others came to our village early yesterday morning. The old grandmothers ran and hid in the fields. They had never seen black American soldiers before and they were frightened.

He came to warn us that the American airplanes will be coming at dawn. Carrying bombs.

Carrying death in their bellies.

He is soft spoken. More a boy than a man, who is far from home. He has such sad eyes. Eyes that try to make the old papasans see that they must leave. That they must go from this place.

Or die.

But He is like all the Americans that have come to my beautiful Vietnam. He does not see the beauty we see. He does not feel the tug of the land. He does not understand that going from this place, this village, would be to die.
He cannot understand the minds of a people who are so much part of the rich red clay that lays beneath their feet.

And with eyes sadder still, he and the others go away. We will not leave our land, our home, our selves.

We sit together in the gathering dawn. The old ones talk all night. Talk with respect of family and friends gone before us and who now wait to greet us, come the rising of the sun.

My heart is filled with sorrow and regret.
For with the morning sun, I know I will never see my 17th birthday.
I will never fall in love, take a husband. Will never carry a child. I will never see my beautiful Vietnam free from the ravages of war.

I will never grow old.

As I look toward the waking sky in the east and see the great American machines approaching, I know today

I must say good-bye to my beautiful Vietnam, for I will cease to exist.

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