Poetry & Remembrance
Video Description: We open this page with “Johnny’s Poem.” Set to a background of soul-stirring music, Vietnam Veteran Johnny W. Herring shares his Vietnam reflections & memories of beach-side battlegrounds. At that time, his a solemn task as coxswain was to leave off those who would meet their destiny on the bloodstained shores of Nam. Artist, Army wife, and Chaplain, Ann M. Wolf narrates to a portion of the soundtrack from her mini-doc “After Vietnam, The Healing,” in the continuance of honors paid to our Nam Vets and especially those who have sacrificed all.
As I touched the gentle rolling sea, with the soft spray of salt water drenching me, but not my profound thirst,
Hearing the powerful machine belching and coughing come to life,
The roar was deafening as the bow lifted upward upon the blue swells in motion,
As my body surges past the line of departure, I hear screams in silence, as my cargo of warriors kneel and pray,
Deep in the recesses of my soul, mind and heart, I hear commands shouting the responsibilities for the souls onboard,
The signal of faster ever faster, while riding those rolling gentle swells of the sea,
I desperately look for that marker to my front that will safely be my guide into the roaring surf and then away from that hell incarnate,
As I gently lower the gate, to the battle raging on the other side,
I can hear and see the bursting bombs and projectiles ping the metal with the thud of target hit,
My cargo of life is gently laid on the shore and emptiness is all that is left,
I reverse the power to stern while rudders and screws dig deep scars into the sand below,
While I leave the soft foam beach, I can feel the heavy crushing powerful sea pouring over me where I stand,
At last the sea is calm as I turn toward the open waters, and again into the gentle rolling swells,
I can visualize the souls of men lifting upward to the heavens as they surge onward into obscurity and into unforgotten memories,
Souls are retreating into the soft frail moist clouds as Angels are overpowered with the burden of directing these gallant souls to the gates of eternity,
I stand in silence this day as I cry to the heavens for the release of my anger to ease my mind from the torment of these long lost years,
As I think back to a day of horror I can’t help but to shed tears of sadness for my lost comrades,
An Angel saw my tears and said; I see your eyes sweat in sadness as you remember as I do the day of heart stricken terror that lay broached on that faraway shore,
Even Angels have feelings with conscious eyes and never mentioned the word tear, because it was the time when men didn’t cry,
How the remembrance of hell on earth must live on through the mind of forgotten combatants so long ago,
My feelings rage on for the souls of the lost that will never be found, fore they lay in silence,
They too are part of this hallowed ground that joins the sea, the unpredictable sea.
© 2016 Johnny W. Herring
Special thanks to Johnny W. Herring for sharing his deepest reflections.
Thank you to Vietnam Veterans as well as all those who have served in harm’s way in defense of Liberty.