Were you there, Dad...?

One of the toughest things for a combat vet to do is to talk about the horrors of war to his or her family, especially to his children. When his youngest son was 12, my husband Brad brought home the PBS video series about Vietnam, and and as they watched the videos, father and son had a little heart-to-heart talk about Vietnam. It went something like this...  

Were you in Vietnam, Dad? 
A Marine, huh?
Like Rambo? 
Oh, he wasn’t a Marine. 

Did you walk through jungles?
Poisonous snakes! 
Spiders as big as your fist! 
Did they crawl on you at night? 

That's gross, Dad! 
I wouldn’t let them suck my blood. 
Did you ever fall in a rice paddy? 

What did you eat in the jungle? 
Yuk! How could you?
Made with real rats?
Did you have to go, Dad?
Weren’t you afraid? 
I’m glad you made it back.
Or I wouldn’t be here. 

Is that why you limp, Dad?
Was that from Vietnam?
What's Purple Heart mean?
Is that why your friends call you Half Ass?

Did they let you keep your M-16?
Too bad you couldn’t keep the rocket launcher.
Are you a War Hero, Dad?
Did you ever kill anyone…?


~Debbe Reynolds~ 

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