By Tom Saal

It’s been a long time, almost forty years,
Dark nights followed by even darker days
Jack, Tom, Henry, Bill, John,
Each gone.
Their faces forever etched in the mirrors of my mind.
It’s been a long time.
Jack, whose life ended with the explosion of a land mine.
Tom, the same only days before rotating home.
Henry and Bill, each taken by friendly fire,
a short round before either had time to react.
And John, killed instantly by an AK-47 round to his heart
while crawling across a rice paddy.
It’s been a long time
Woeful women wounded by eyeless bullets during fearsome firefights.
Charred children burned beyond belief by napalm.
There are many truisms in life.
One, originating during the turbulent ’60’s read,
“War is not healthy for children and other living things.”
Add to that, “Sorry sights seen in combat remain locked in the mind forever.”