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The Homecoming

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It was in late October in the year nineteen seventy three That the war in South Vietnam was finally over for me I boarded the seven o seven and couldn't wait to get going A non military plane, a bright blue and white coloured Boeing. After a long flight we landed at San Fran; no signs of jubilation! I hailed a passing yellow cab to take me, to Oakland bus station Went to the ticket office, checked in my gear and boarded the Greyhound And after having been away for five years, I was now homeward bound. I'd been with the special forces, working deep behind enemy lines And I'd seen many of my close buddies killed, with antipersonnel mines I'd become hardened to what I'd seen; and for my friends I couldn't weep The drone of the Greyhounds engine made me drowsy, and I fell asleep. My mind was like a coiled spring with no avenue for release And I couldn't help but wonder, if I'd ever again find real peace I'd see images of villages that had been taken over by the Vietcong Who had massacred all the villagers; and they'd done nothing wrong. After six and a half hours we arrived in leafy West Virginia Only a few more miles to home, at my folks farm in Triadelphia We arrived in town and I got off the bus, and headed for Dennys It felt strange sitting at a table and not in the jungle on my knees. I finished breakfast and then walked, the three miles to my home Passed by the Patuxent River and noticed, the rapids frothy with foam I arrived at the bottom of the drive and noticed our house chimney And could smell the wood smoke burning and drifting toward me. As I neared the house, I made a crunching sound on the gravel path I heard my father shout out loudly  "who in Gods name is that?" The door then opened wide and he stood there with a shotgun Stared at me and with a trembling voice, he said " is that you son?" I dropped my heavy kitbag and we walked toward each other Tears were running down his face and he called out for my mother She came running out, stood in shock and gasped when she saw me And said "everyday I'd prayed, that you'd come home to your family. " We'd had some army men come out to tell us that you had died And there hasn't been a day since I heard that, I haven't cried" I told her I'd written a few times but my letters were never answered But if I'd been listed as missing, then they'd have been censored" I said "I'd lived in the shadows and we were like spectres in the mist We were ghosts behind enemy lines and to many we didn't exist" It had been quite an emotional homecoming, tears continued to flow Could I forget the horrors I'd witnessed? maybe in time, I don't know. Written on 17th June 2022.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2022




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Date: 7/8/2022 9:24:00 AM
Oh, chills are running through me and up and down my spine.....your poetic story hits a chord with me.....my ex-husband served in Vietnam and suffered continual nightmares of the war. My uncle served in Korea and was claimed to be dead,however, miraculously returned.....your story is so real to me. Beautifully penned. :)Paulette
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 7/9/2022 2:05:00 AM
Thank you very much Paulette, although a fictional write I know many experienced the horrors of war and never fully recovered from it. I'm happy for you that your uncle returned but can understand why it happened with communications going astray. Tom
Date: 6/23/2022 10:09:00 AM
I know I say this often Tom but the master storyteller is at it again! Congratulations on your POTD. This poem is chalk full of pathos. It is rich in evocative power! You really know how to touch the human spirit! Well deserving a POTD! Congratulations! High fives! Hats off! Hope you are well. Over Fork Over!
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/23/2022 12:06:00 PM
Thank you very much Sam, I'm happy you that you enjoyed it. Grew up in the sixties and it was often on the news about the Vietnam war. Sad too that many soldiers returning home suffered abuse from the anti war brigade. All well here and I hope you are too. Over Fork Over. Tom
Date: 6/21/2022 11:15:00 AM
Congratulations on POTD!
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/21/2022 11:17:00 AM
Thank you very much for your congrats and return visit Kim. Tom
Date: 6/21/2022 11:01:00 AM
Congratulations Tom, this certainly deserves the honor of POTD! The story pulls you in and you want to race through to the end. It captures you. It was a restless, vocal time, the lack of jubilation, sadly true. It became your story, written so well.
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/21/2022 11:17:00 AM
Thank you very much for your congrats Sandra. Growing up in the sixties it was on the news most nights and I picked up a lot on what was going on over there and also troops returning home weren't given a heroes welcome on returning home. I tried to imagine what it was like to return home with memories of the horrors that I'd witnessed. Hope you're keeping well. Tom
Date: 6/21/2022 7:22:00 AM
I'd become hardened to what I'd seen; and for my friends I couldn't weep…I can see this happening. Perhaps men are only allowed so many tears. The torrent sweeps them away. I can’t imagine seeing families massacred! Those final four lines! Perhaps in the final years, before death, at last peace will come as the soldier looks forward to seeing the restoration of life in heaven…if he or she finds peace! So thought provoking as always, Tom!
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/21/2022 7:41:00 AM
Thank you very much Kim, I can only imagine what they witnessed in the war, I worked with a man who went ashore on the second wave on DDay, he never spoke about it much, bodies everywhere, back then you were just expected to carry on. Thankfully today PTSD is recognised and those suffering can be helped. Tom
Date: 6/20/2022 10:44:00 AM
Wonderfully and powerfully written tale of a soldiers coming home from war.
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/20/2022 11:27:00 AM
Thank you very much Kenneth, I'm happy you that you enjoyed it. Tom
Date: 6/19/2022 9:48:00 PM
Tom congratulations on a wonderful story. It is almost like it was you it was so convincing. Also a deserving honor on Fathers day for you my friend. You certainly have a creative mind. I can relate to the story since I was a kid during this time and the war was on the news all the time. In the States here the Anti Personnel mines are written as I wrote it. I wonder if where your from they spell them as you spelled Anti Personal mines, just curious in asking? Again BIG CONGRATULATIONS Tom
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michael tor
Date: 6/20/2022 6:49:00 PM
I did also thankyou Tom...
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/20/2022 1:32:00 AM
I did Michael and I hope you did too. Tom
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michael tor
Date: 6/20/2022 12:19:00 AM
Tom Im the the worlds worst Speller lol. I was just curious because other Countries do spell differently. Thank you for clarifying for me. I hope you had a fullfilling Fathers day...
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/20/2022 12:04:00 AM
Thank you very much Michael, like You I grew up in the 60s and it was always on the news about the war. I'd made an error with the spelling, must have read it ten times before posting, well spotted. The odds were always against the US with Russia and China supporting the North. Have a great week ahead. Tom
Date: 6/19/2022 2:04:00 PM
Amazing storytelling through poetry Tom, it’s sad that for so many the story is true. A magnificent write as always, well done and congratulations on poem of the day… Belle
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/19/2022 2:16:00 PM
Thank you very much Belle, I read a lot about Vietnam when I was growing up and I managed to recall the memories of it. Tom
Date: 6/19/2022 1:50:00 PM
This is one spectacular, gripping poem, Tom:-) You're one of the greatest storytellers of PS! Heartiest congratulations on POTD!
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/19/2022 2:14:00 PM
Thank you very much for your congratulations Edward, I'm happy you enjoyed it. Tom
Date: 6/19/2022 12:53:00 PM
Tom my good friend, all I can say is CONGRATULATIONS, on this wonderful poem being chosen and the great honor bestowed on you - I am sure that the young men who survived and returned from war back home home will not forget the horrors they had witnessed, but maybe in time, they would - superb poetry Tom! Blessings, Jennifer.
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/19/2022 2:13:00 PM
Thank you very much Jennifer, I know many struggle when they return, PTSD is a real illness and is now recognised. Sadly many can't live with their demons and turn to drink or drugs. Tom
Date: 6/19/2022 10:47:00 AM
We know a young man personally that joined the National Guard then they started sending them over to Saudi Arabia or wherever that war was. It affected him something terrible. He has PTSD which is not a good thing at all. I enjoyed reading your work. Sara
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/19/2022 10:51:00 AM
Thank you very much Sara, thankfully its a recognised condition these days but in ww1 men were shot for cowardice. Tom
Date: 6/19/2022 8:36:00 AM
This brings back so many memories, Tom. I'm sure this scene repeated itself many times back in the day. I was lucky enough that I didn't have to go to Vietnam but most of the people I served with did. Those of us who lived through this era will never forget. You are the master storyteller my friend, congrats on POTD. John
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/19/2022 8:54:00 AM
Thank you very much for your congrats John, I grew up in the sixties and every night I'd watch the news about it. I can't imagine what horrors those men witnessed and came home expecting to carry on as normal, back then no one had ever heard of PTSD, thankfully today its recognised. Hope your weekend is going well. Tom
Date: 6/19/2022 7:32:00 AM
Tom, sorry I missed this wonderfully penned poem, a belated congratulations on POTD!
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/19/2022 8:50:00 AM
Thank you Tania, no worries, hope you are keeping well. Tom
Date: 6/19/2022 6:20:00 AM
Congratulations on your well-deserved POTD, Tom. As always, your knowledge and your empathy shine in your poignant creation - Homecoming - what an emotional event to a soldier, and a family!. Best wishes ~ Mala
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/19/2022 6:43:00 AM
Thank you very much for your congratulations Mala, I'm happy you enjoyed it. Hope you have a lovely weekend. Tom
Date: 6/19/2022 4:21:00 AM
Tom you have such a talent and I send you many congratulations for your POTD, which is truly deserved my friend. With kindest thoughts Ann xx
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/19/2022 4:24:00 AM
Thank you very much Ann, im happy you enjoyed it. I hope you are keeping well and enjoying the hot sunshine. Tom
Date: 6/19/2022 12:00:00 AM
Tom, you are simply amazing. Nobody does this like you, and you deserve every POTD you receive. The Viet Nam war took a lot of good lives, messed with a lot of people's minds, damaged bodies, and the thanks that many received was dirty looks. It's hard to imagine being parents to a soldier they believed was KIA. Well done, my friend, and hearty congrats ~ John
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/19/2022 1:58:00 AM
Thank you very much John, the vile propaganda the Nth Vietnamese were putting out turned people against the war, Jane Fonda didn't help either. Its politicians who start wars not the soldiers. Sadly in a war situation communications get crosswired and mistakes made, families sorrow becames joy but it meant heartbreaking news for someone else. Mankind has been fighting wars since time began, he never learns. Enjoy your father's day. Tom
Date: 6/18/2022 10:05:00 PM
Wonderful beyond words, my friend. I am not always here! Sorry to be a late comer. Huge Congratulations. Panagiota xx
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/19/2022 12:40:00 AM
Thank you very much for your congrats Pangie, there are never any real winners in war and many never get over the effects of it. Tom
Date: 6/18/2022 8:12:00 PM
Oh wow Tom. You really did a good job of putting yourself in a Vietnam vet’s shoes. Poignant!
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/19/2022 12:39:00 AM
Thank you very much Jennifer, Every day in the sixties the war was always in the news, sadly its the soldiers and civilians who always bear the brunt of it. I'm happy that you enjoyed it. Tom
Date: 6/18/2022 7:36:00 PM
This is tender and emotional, all at the same time. My eyes are misty after reading these thoughts from your pen. When those that have served return home, it is a mixture of emotions indeed. Congratulations Tom, on Poem of the Day. My best to you. Hugs, Brandy
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/19/2022 12:36:00 AM
Thank you very much Brandy, I know wars and conflicts change lives for ever, there are many who struggle after returning home and turn to drink to try and blot out the memories of it. Tom
Date: 6/18/2022 1:31:00 PM
Dear Tom, your faithful muse is ever an incredible and inspiring word weaver. Such an emotional poem expressed with amazing rhymes. Your genuine heart shines as does your gifted golden pen, my friend. Congratulations for receiving POTD honors for this potent poignant piece. Warmest wishes for you to have a great weekend.. ~Susan
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/18/2022 2:55:00 PM
Thank you very much for your congrats Susan, Real events gave me the inspiration for the story, the hardest part was getting rhyming words to fit but I enjoy the challenge. Have a lovely weekend. Tom
Date: 6/18/2022 1:26:00 PM
Tom, wow, what an incredible writer you are, how could you forget ever ! And congratulations on receiving this deserving POEM OF THE DAY honor, blessings ~Constance
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/18/2022 2:53:00 PM
Thank you very much Constance, I'm happy you enjoyed it. It's a fictional write inspired by real events. Hope your weekend is going well. Tom
Date: 6/18/2022 12:02:00 PM
The Vietnam era was so bitter and divisive, hardly the Age of Aquarius. My best friend's brother was drafted and fought in Vietnam. He went in athletic, cheerful, and ready to be married. Upon returning he gained 100lbs and became a bitter alcoholic. The war wounded so many in so many ways. Congrats Tom on your wonderful narrative, which conjured up so much emotion.
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/18/2022 12:18:00 PM
Thank you very much Robert, I can't for a minute imagine the horrors these men and women witnessed and can understand why they'd try and forget through drink or drugs, I heard of many soldiers from the UK on returning from Afghanistan lost it and many committed suicide. PTSD is a recognisrd condition now but in WW1 many were executed for cowardice. It wasn't until recently that those charges against them were overturned and their records updated to show they served with honour. Hope your weekend is going well. Tom
Date: 6/18/2022 11:46:00 AM
Congratulations, on the POTD! A great character sketch, these stories should be told over and over again. We must never forget the sacrifices, made by our youth when we send them into battle. This decision shouldn't be made lightly. Hail to our Historian poet Master Tom Cunningham!
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/18/2022 12:12:00 PM
Thank you very much for your comment Anaya, I do love history and poetry and combining the two is a no brainer for me. You're right though our service men and women deserve all the honour when they come home, their welfare is paramount and no expense should be spared. Hope your day is going well. Tom
Date: 6/18/2022 10:52:00 AM
Wow Tom...This brought tears to my eyes. A heartfelt congratulations on your POTD. Your gift for storytelling and describing moments in detail is so profound. I enjoy reading history through your heart and eyes. You have so much to give to all of us. Thank you for this emotional write. Bravo !
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/18/2022 11:14:00 AM
Thank you very much Susan, im happy you enjoyed it. I get the inspiration from books and news reports, then my muse takes over. Historical ones take longer as I have to ensure the facts are spot on. Hope you're having a nice weekend. Tom
Date: 6/18/2022 10:10:00 AM
I am very happy to see this wonderful fave honored as POTD Tom. Back to congratulate you. Superb writing! Blessings xxoo
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Tom Cunningham
Date: 6/18/2022 10:12:00 AM
Thank you very much for your congratulations and return visit. Very much appreciated. Hope your weekend is going well. Tom
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