Letters to the World

Some random thoughts of a Black man in Vietnam….

The Salute“Being Black was a unique experience. In some instances you were still less than them southern crackers. All of us were considered druggies, and malcontents. But many did our jobs with the tools we were given…”

“We had the music of the 60s, Marvin Gaye, Edwin Starr-“War,” Temptations, Motown, various other groups—Iron Butterfly, Janis Joplin, Hendrix and more. You listen to remember home, to think about things.”

“I saw six gray caskets. I felt sad. These guys gave their all, they made The Crewthe ultimate sacrifice for America. It hurt deeply…”

“I went to Vietnam because my country sent me there. I tried to do the job I was sent to do.”

“I saw the aftermath of two guys playing around with a live grenade, over at the perimeter checkpoint. One was killed and the other was critically wounded. They had been getting stoned, taking speed and #10s…Take the pin out and put it back. Then one of them dropped it and couldn’t put it back.”

Clowning around“Charles Smith died shortly after our arrival in Pleiku…It hurt because he was one nutty kind of guy. I see Charles today lying there silent. His pain stopped a long time ago…”


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© 2003 Jasmine McNealy