Generation of Witness:
2. Shroud of War: Invocation
3. Vietnam: Fire. Redemption. Love.
I am the Vietnam Generation.
I hold the memory of two million
Vietnamese children, men, and women
killed during the War of Liberation.
I hold the memory
of 58,229 dead Americans
and 55,000 French soldiers killed.
Not killed for patriotism.
Not killed to save a nation.
Killed for the Military-Industrial insanity.
I hold the memory of the
millions of wounded soldiers and children
maimed with bombs and Agent Orange.
How have we paid recompense for the
400,000 Vietnamese killed by Agent Orange?
How have we remediated the
the land destroyed by bombs
and Agent Orange?
How many generations
will it take to heal this land?
Is there a salve that can
soothe the scars of napalm bombs?
Is there a salve that will heal the
skin of those burned with phosphorous?
How do we Americans
care for the thousands of deformed
children born today?
When will there be contrition?
How have we atoned for our deeds?
How will we atone for
My Lai and the unknown massacres?
How will we care for the people and land
destroyed by the sin and evil of war?
While the chairman of Dow Chemical
Carl A. Gerstacker
played golf on immaculate green lawns;
While Dow chemical’s napalm
and burned people alive:
While Monsanto gained fortunes for
its stockholders with the poison Agent Orange:
While the war profiteers made their
poisons and guns to destroy Vietnam,
and proclaimed the greatness of the USA.
While Nixon scuttled a peace deal in 1968
so he could get elected.
While McNamara formulated the calculus of war.
Johnson, Kennedy, Kissinger, and all stoked the machine
of death. They were the architects of monumental hubris.
While those safe in draft deferments,
protested the war:
While the poor and working-class soldiers
were sucked into the vortex of conscription.
I want to hold the hundreds of thousands
of wounded and homeless veterans.
Now huddled in the streets.
I don’t want us known as
The Woodstock generation
with its ephemera of peace and love.
I want us to hold in our bones
the imperative of peace and contrition.
Vietnam Generation May2020 – Namaya 6
Do we have the courage to bend
down on our knees in