The Next Generation

Copyright (1999) by APVNV Pat (Beanie) Camunes
D/4/31 196 Lt Inf Bde
TayNinh 12/66-04/67 -  TamKy 04/67-12/67"


I had seen the picture of the woman and child in front of The Wall and it has haunted me until I could put these words together ... I don’t know if I can get it out of my head.

APVNV Beanie


The small and gentle touch of delicate fingers faintly but irresistibly call me to The Wall. I recall in the year past, which seems so long ago when my mom, wife and son came and called me to this same Wall. Even after all this time, the dewdrops on The Wall still remind me of the tears of happiness that I shed that day.

Today, the call is not quite as strong and as I near The Wall, I can see a small child and woman kneeling and touching my name that is forever engraved into this black granite vail that separates us eternally. As I move slowly and hesitantly toward The Wall, I think that this must be some kind of mistake…as the child calls out to “grand-dad”, and I instantly think,“Could this be my son’s wife with my grandchild?”

The feelings of last year suddenly returns, as I look into the face of my grandchild and daughter-in-law. Time has passed, life carries on and the emotions are again awakened that have not yet been forgotten.

I long to hold and cherish the delicate body of my grandchild. I long to hug and thank my daughter-in-law for allowing me the time to share in their “world”. I long to be able to ask questions, share emotions or just for a moment experience a loving touch that does not have to sensed through the veiled Wall. My destiny denies all of these longings but I am still grateful for these short visits with the “real” world.

I “feel” the delicate little fingers through the cold stone. And as she reaches for her Mom, a combined force between us sends a message of love and the other side of The Wall grows slick with the dampness of my tears that they only consider coming from the humidity in the air. The frustration of not being able to physically touch this new part of my family is overwhelming but I’m still grateful that I’ve been allowed to share this much. I am only hopeful that children such as this one will realize the true meaning of war and the effects of having known of someone that had participated ... I am not forgotten as so many others that stand behind me ...waiting.

I yell and bring attention to myself ... WE ARE NOT FORGOTTEN ... These are our grandchildren and they REMEMBER with the help of those that shared and have suffered the effects of Vietnam.

COME ALL . . ! and see the next generation that will REMEMBER as we THANK THEM FOR REMEMBERING. Let us rejoice and make “Old Glory”, our proud Stars and Stripes stand straight out and proclaim our allegiance and Support for our Nation that we sacrificed so much for ....

I hesitantly going back to my place as my daughter-in-law and grandchild prepare to leave, and can only pray that the coming year will bring me and so many others the assurances that we have not been forgotten and again our gathering numbers repeat over and over again ... Thanks for Remembering……Thanks for Remembering …. and until next year.

APVNV Pat(Beanie)Camunes
D/4/31 196th Lt Inf Bde
Tay Ninh, 12/‘66- 04/’67 Tam Ky, ‘04/’67-12/’67