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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 © Tom Cunningham | Year Posted 2022
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