Heavy Heart ...

by: Larry Poss, WS LM-02
© 1998
Larry's Web Page


I remember the biting cold as I stepped from my car. I looked toward the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and walked with the growing crowd. I saw people clustered from one end to the other of the Memorial ... The Wall.

A mother called out, "Look honey, here he is ... over here." Wives, sons, daughters, loved ones, and veterans searching for that someone who had touched their life's.

As I approached the black granite Wall, I felt a lump in my throat as the stamina left my legs. I stopped a few feet from the chiseled names and waited as a soldier completed his time with his friend's name and their memories.

With the passing of time memories fade, although some are as clear as my cousins' name this day, some are too fragile to voice, though three decades have passed.

A kneeling soldier rose and walked away looking neither left nor right. I moved toward Panel 03-E, and there he was: Travis O Neal Poss, SGT, Panel 03-E, Line 61. 1st Cav Division (AMBL). Forever age 23, was married, in country Vietnam a day shy of three months, and Killed in Action on 11/15/1965.

There is another name I search for, glimpsing at the panel number repeatedly though I know it by heart: Panel Number 17-W, Line 40. Nearly four years later, and thousands of names, I found: Gary Steven Poss. KIA at age 20, after only two and a half months in country, on 10/05/1969.

A bridge of memories span the many panels between their names. I had touched their names, and it was if they in turned had touched me and Proved to soften my heart for the rest of my life. A feeling that a link still existed between us, as warriors of that war.

I sensed the calling of a Heavy Heart from within The Wall ...

    We, who were returned to this side of The Wall came home with the Nation's Flag draped over us. Our Nation and Family put us to rest with a Twenty-one Gun Salute. Our hearts went out to all of you. We saw the hurt that you endured even as you stepped off the plane. Your Welcome Home for us, was seeing the Nation's Flag burning. If you felt a longing to return, that feeling was us standing by your side...and even when you felt unworthy and confused about your country.

    We were there when our great Nation turned it's back on you. We watched as they put a crown of hate upon your head.

    We were there and felt the scars take their toll, as anti-war demonstrations flared. We saw the look in your eyes, when you felt that serving your country was meanness and somehow not honorable. We were there, when as your brothers and sisters tried to talk to someone about how your life had changed...and when no one cared or would listen.

    We felt your anger at acts of treason by Jane Fonda, and the hurt, and harm that cast upon you.

    You kept a Roll on your side...and we on ours. Every warrior who fell is known and named by us. Every warrior killed in Vietnam, did not die in Vietnam. Names are still called out to this day as new casualties are found...and of those thousands still dying from Agent Orange.

    But, the hardest name to say for us is when one of our own falls to drugs, alcohol
    ... or just drops out of life. But we are there...even then ... though tears ... we are there.

    Those of you who picked up that crown can bear it with pride. We watched as you raised up from scars to become our Police Officer's, Doctor's, Lawyer's, Teacher's, Civil Servants, Warriors, and Blue Collar workers, and professions unknown in our time of life; and most important, parents of our generations future children. Knowing we left our nation in your hands is a comfort to us. We have never forgotten you, as you have not forgotten us. We will be with you, until you are with us.

    Larry Poss,
    US Army
    Larry's Web Page

PFC - Army - Selective Service
4th Infantry Division
20 year old Married, Caucasian, Male
Born on 02/03/49
Tour of duty began on 07/31/69
Casualty was on 10/05/69
Body was recovered
Panel 17W - Line 40

SGT - Army - Regular
1st Cav Division (AMBL)
23 year old Married, Caucasian, Male
Born on 02/26/42
Length of service 4 years.
Tour of duty began on 08/16/65
Casualty was on 11/15/65
Body was recovered
Religion - BAPTIST
Panel 03E - Line 61

Another Story by Larry Poss, WS LM-02
"We Wore the same Dog Tags ..."


From: Kathleen [mailto:wolf11_94@yahoo.com]
Sent: Tuesday, March 21, 2006 10:12 AM
To: donp@war-stories.com; larry@larryposs.com
Subject: War-Stories:-Heavy-Heart

I wish to read your work entitled Heavy Heart at a ceremony Saturday.  In Massachusetts the 29th of March is Vietnam Veterans Day.  Nam Vets of the Cape and Islands will be having its observance on Saturday the 25th. I am their Chaplain. I am a 100% service connected Vietnam-Era Veteran. I was a Navy corpsman stationed with the Marines at Campen, Los Alamitos, El Toro and received airvacs at Great Lakes Illinois. I would be honored to read this moving work to my fellow veterans and their families with your permission. I would also like permission to print it in our newsletter noting you as the author and will send you a copy or copies. Please let me know as soon as possible.

Thanks regardless of your answer.

Welcome home soldier,

Kathleen SilverRyder, RN, Chaplain

From: Kathleen
Sent: Wednesday, March 22, 2006 6:12 AM
Subject: Re: War-Stories:-Heavy-Heart

The honor is all mine. Thanks so much and I promise to send at least five copies so that when you next visit The Wall you can leave our brothers one. You have a marvelous talent. Native Americans would call you the story teller. Without story tellers no one will understand the soul of what happens and what effect it has on the spirit. Anyone can talk or write but not all can make words come to life so that others can FEEL what is being said. You, my brother, have that gift and you need to keep your stories going. Please keep in touch with me and I will keep in touch with you, if you don't object.    Thanks again, Kathleen


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