I never fought in Vietnam…my parents never had to worry…to fear…to morn…for the simple reason my draft number was connected to the day that I was born.


I sat watching draft numbers being picked…wondering what I was going to do until my birthday draft number was finally called and I was 322.


As luck would have it I had a friend whose birthday was number 4….So I went off to college…while he went off to war.


A war that had been raging for 9 years…causing pain and grief and tears…

Sadly, the anguish and the agony of that war would rage on for 10 more years.


The soldiers who went off to fight…young men and women side by side…like any soldier in any war…they served, they fought…some died.


Over 58.000 young men and women died in that war…a number both sad and profound…some of their bodies never made it home…to this day they’ve never been found.


But those who returned alive from that Vietnam…found their war was out of fashion…they did not receive their country’s glory…nor their countrymen’s compassion.


It was a war that divided our county…pitting Americans against each other…

In the streets, to protest a war, we fought with our own sisters…our own brothers.


Yesterday we stopped at a park near a downtown South Florida neighborhood…where, to our surprise, a replica of the Vietnam War Memorial stood.


The wall was erected to memorialize these soldiers…whose lives went un-completed…with the hope the lessons from that war would never be forgotten…or repeated…


In a solemn, sobering moment I was filled with sadness…tears began to fall as I ran my fingers across the name of my friend upon that wall.


How sad it was to gaze out on all those names…trying to ascertain…after watching what Americans did to Americans this week…if my friend and all his friends hadn’t died in vain.


Wondering in the aftermath of a week where we ignored old lessons…where old mistakes were, once again, repeated…how many more people will be hurt…how many more lives will never be completed.


Wondering if it’s possible, as I ran my fingers along that wall…if there will ever be a time when there’ll be no wars at all…


I believe it is possible, without war, for people to come together, to compromise, to help their hate and anger cease…I believe every language has a word for this…

I believe that word…is PEACE

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What if the death of any person anywhere hurled us into blackness

a world of darkness we could not shun

as if when that person was taken from this world

someone permanently shrouded the sun.


What if it led to a sadness so pervasive…even on the most beautiful days of Spring

we cold not see the flowers bloom…we could not hear the songbirds sing.


What if the death of any person anywhere threw us into a hole of sadness out of which we could not climb

an anguish…a sorrow so profound…it could not be absorbed by time…


What if the death of any person anywhere in the world hurled us into blackness

a world of darkness we could not shun…

Perhaps then we’d find a way to do away with wars,

with bombs…

with killing…


with guns.

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We watched our granddaughter play volleyball…”There she is!” we both exclaimed

when she stepped onto the court…when she got into the game.


She only played a short time…didn’t even have time to mess her hair

The ball never came her way, but that didn’t matter…we didn’t care.


Her team won the game!…and though it was sad to watch the other team lose

We were happy!

What a beautiful day!

Then we went home and watched the news….


A child wearing a home-made gas mask in Syria…

her father’s face so worn and drawn.

They were pulling bodies out of the rubble…

after 7 years their war goes on….


7 years of war…cities destroyed by hatred…fighting and bombs

children who may be lost forever from their dads, their homes, their moms….


And we thought how lucky it is for our granddaughter…

playing volleyball so innocent and free

while halfway across the world there are children not as fortunate as she.


Who are running for their lives…while around them building fall

Who I imagine would give anything…to be playing volleyball.


And we’ll be happy watching her next game…

happy to be there win or lose…

Forgetting for a moment the rest of the world…


until we go home and watch the news.

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Their parents drove them to the cemetery

because they wanted their family to see…

to understand the price…the cost

for them to all live free. 


As the rain fell softly their parents explained

how it wasn’t really rain…

but the tears of all who loved them

falling back to earth again.


We heard about the shooting on the news and on TV.

We saw scenes of another mass murder…another killing spree.


The faces of the frightened children, their parents…everyone

witnesses and victims on the wrong side of a gun.


And we feel for all the victims…everybody at the scene

for even those who were not shot…have wounds that can’t be seen.


We hear about people at war…on our computers…on the news

The scenes of devastation…the panoramic camera views.


And we feel for all the victims…we can’t take it anymore…

but the killing keeps on coming…that is a consequence of war.


And we realize it’s not just the victims…not only those there at the scene

but even we who see and hear the news…have wounds that can’t be seen.


And we look to the leaders of our countries…to try to intercede…

To help the troubled ones and their families get the kind of help they need.


And we look to the leaders of our countries…to try and make the killing cease…

to face the problems…to end the wars…to create a world of peace.


And we beg our leaders to do something…anything…as we cry for those affected

and we beg their leaders to do something…anything…to keep us all protected.


To stop the wars…the fighting…the mass murders with a gun…

To make the world a safer place to live…for everyone…


So the next generation of children will not find war and massacres routine….


So the next generation of children will not have wounds that can’t be seen. 

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Jhonny's Last Day's

Rebellious Poems

I once knew a boy

his name was Jhon

but before I knew he was gone


He want to war with grin on face

never told of the fears he faced


I once knew a boy

his name was Jhon

but before I knew he was gone


He trained and trained until he left

until he said "no more regrets!"


I told the boy before we met

"don't go to war where fate is met."


He left before I said goodbye

and His life was lost on the frontlines


I once knew a boy

his name was Jhon

but before I knew he was gone

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Two photos of two people…taken as World War II began

The woman…was quite beautiful…and handsome was the man.


Two people I would come to know…two photos my brother had…

Two photos of the man and woman who would become my mom and dad. 


Two photos taken years ago in two long forgotten places

Two photos of them smiling…was that youth upon their faces?


Two faces filled with promise…I wonder…what were they like before…

before I came to know them…before they both were called to war.


Before they witnessed death and bloodshed…before the holocaust…

Before Dad’s hearing was affected and Mom’s innocence was lost…


Two photos of two people who never talked about the war…

Were they frightened? Were they brave?

Two photos of two people…who took their stories to their graves…


So many questions go unanswered…and remain unanswered forevermore

So many family histories altered…a sad casualty of war.


Two photos of two people…two photos I’ve never seen before…

I wonder: what would their lives have been like…if there never was a war?


Two photos of Mom and Dad in their uniforms…

like so many photos from long ago…

How different would our world have been?

Another question goes unanswered…for that…


we’ll never know.

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Oh my God! We’re on the brink of war…what are we to do?

Have you ever watched a hummingbird sip the morning dew?


People killing one another…hate is everywhere!

Have you ever watched the sun rise in the cool, crisp mountain air?


These people are afraid of those people…they want build a wall!

Have you ever stopped and marveled…at the colors of the fall?


Countries do not talk anymore…all they want to do is fight!

Have you ever noticed how the ocean shimmers…and sparkles in the night?


Earth was existing long before us…and this fact is perfectly clear…

When we humans have destroyed ourselves…Earth will still be here.


I hope the next species who inhabit Earth…the next ones who populate her shores

Will find it in their hearts and souls to try a little more…


To live in peace and harmony and somehow find a way


To relish in the beauty…she offers every day.

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A Thousand

A thousand nations will rise, a thousand nations will fall, and the rest have fallen.

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