Letter to the Wall
With apologies to all of you. For having my head in the sand during the Vietnam War period. Seems I was busy emerging from a dysfunctional family life and trying to fit into the big world somehow with little guidance. I would hear the home front rioting and protesting on the media but it was so unreal to me at the time. It has only been later years, after marrying a person who served in that hellhole that I began to realize what it really was. He would tell me some of it from time to time, but didn’t like to talk much or often about it. He had a positive outlook and recalled the kindness of a lady who bought him a sandwich on the flight home. A small thing but huge to him when others were being degraded and spit upon. He didn’t dwell on the negative, although how could anyone possibly put it out of their minds? He shoved it down inside his gut and got on with his life, as many did. He was grateful to have had twenty years more to live than most of you had.
I have been to your Wall several times and each time is like the first time. I don’t believe that I knew anyone in person who has their name on that long, black shiny wall. And yet, visiting the wall this last time a few weeks ago, it seems like I knew all of you. As I walked slowly along looking for a person whose remains were recently found and sent home, I knew that none of you will ever be forgotten. The long stretch of visitors four, five and six deep filled the walkway. They come to see the magnificence of the monument, touch your names, leave a memento or shed a tear. My heart aches for each and every one of you. You have touched our hearts and souls forever. You are loved.
Melanie Jane Farmer
It was 1970 – I was 18 years old…standing in a protest march in Boston, Massachusetts, I was speaking out against the evil war that was raging. There weren’t that many of us and we all felt a general hatred towards ourselves from “our society”, at large. I had just graduated from high school and my brother, Danny, was fighting there. I also knew many boys – who had just turned into men – who had been drafted. As they said their good-byes to me (with their draft cards in hand), I could see and hear the despair in their eyes and hear it in their voices. I knew they felt a 50/50 chance of being killed – just as they had finally finished their major education.
Most of the “to be” soldiers had a “whole” 2 months, after graduation, to take a break from it all. At this same time, I got to know a returned veteran, who had a hand injury and was sent home. It was difficult for him and I could see, through him, how my brother’s (and all the other veterans, who “survived”) head would be messed up…I was right. My brother – in the middle of the night, one evening, shortly after he returned, woke up screaming in terror from some horrid nightmare. I didn’t see him going through this ordeal, as my dad had gone into his bedroom to ease him back into relaxation, so that he could finish sleeping. But I knew in my soul that my brother (and all of the veterans) would be messed up as the result of their service.
I pledged to myself that I would do whatever it took to help them. I was happy to do this:):):) ‘Twas the least I could do to thank them for protecting me. I did know many veterans who lost their lives because of this inane war. I constantly tried to promote Peace and Love to everyone – even those people who seemed to be enraged at me for my “hideous crime” of being a “hippie”:) How ridiculous this was – of course, as you know, “hippie” is simply a label for a Christian person. Many tried to shut me up and certainly did put me down. Yes, I was one of many; however, when you’re fighting (protesting) – you are doing it alone – only way it can be effective.
I haven’t stopped any of my protests against “my” corrupted system, even today, and I am 66 years old now. I want to tell you never to give up your cause/s, until they are solved. It’s how you win…I know it may seem that the evil people have “won”; they haven’t. They can go ahead and be as vile as they wish, but – God help them on Judgement Day – but, I don’t believe “he” will. Reason I have “he” in quotation marks is that, to me, “he” is Love. As you know, Love has already triumphed over evil. My belief it that our lives, here on earth, are a test and I don’t want to flunk this “holy course”:)
Thank you for listening and don’t be afraid of speaking out your convictions!! As it now happens, this being the year of our Lord – 2019 A.D. – most people seem to be looking/saying to me: “you were a hippie, weren’t you?” I only laugh and tell them: “I still am”.
Peace and Happiness to you!!!
With my love and thanks,
Joyce Ellen Franks (“Hippie”)