The Value of Honor and Gallantry
My sergeant said you've been trained well you know what to do
Your assignment an ambush, do not return until the sky is blue.
We gathered our weapons and lots of ammo
And waited till dark then said he it’s time to go.
We set-up behind a Pagoda in a cemetery
Surrounded by graves, it was kinda scary.
There in Vietnam overlooking an open field.
I sat and waited; on my lap an M-15 I yield.
In slow degrees though silent, the hours passed;
In the darkness my fear has yet to be surpassed.
It stated to rain obstructing my field of vision
I said a prayer; it was a time of deep contrition
In those clamorous moment before blood and death
I closed my eyes, lifted my head and took a deep breath.
Behind the Pagoda, the hour drew near.
I looked at my buddy's eyes filled with fear.
Before I knew it his M-60 let loose
There were so many it wasn’t hard to choose.
In all of those moments as the bullets flew,
The fear of death it griped, it grew!
There was nowhere to go and nowhere to hide.
Still we remained instilled with Marine Corps pride.
The exchange of fire ended and my buddy fell dead.
I looked up to God and silently plead.
I saw the carnage, quivered and trembled in silent rage.
No time for sorrow, for the enemy we'll still engage
I sought the sunshine through bloodstained eyes.
I knew that in war we cannot compromise.
I sniffed the damp soil, decaying and pungent with leafy mold.
At eighteen my buddy laid dead, a life story never to be told.
I soughtGod's mercy to easy my guilt.
Pierced to its poisonous hilt.
With dark vague eyes I started to cry.
I held his hand and said my last good bye.
I felt deserted I wanting to go home.
For me--farthest from deaths port to roam.
For in this darkness I silently grieve
And sought I comfort to relieve
The worth of that, is that which it contains
Where a bullet-riddled pagoda still remains.
Copyright © Johnny Martinez | Year Posted 2017