War and History Poetry posted May 23, 2008


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A tribute to Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore

Shadows in the Dust

by Gypsymooncat


The best scene in this movie was where Hal Moore stepped aboard the chopper - the last one to step off.

The Colonel stands in solitude before the rising sun,
victorious, but grieving for so many lives now done.
On a tree stump in the Valley waves the US Flag; 
a symbol of such pride, but still his weary shoulders sag.

He looked upon his troops just like a father would his sons --
protecting them was listed as Priority Number 1.
And now he feels a failure to those boys who breathe no more;
whose lives became a memory – a residue of war.

Reporters show up on the field, bombarding him with questions,
but he just walks away, ignoring all their false attention.
He'd voiced his thoughts to one, who shot both camera and a gun:
“You have to tell their story; tell them how my troops died, Son.”

Now he can see the shadows of those boys all standing proud,
saluting him, before their souls are swallowed in the cloud
of dust the chopper blades are churning up as it lands down,
then one by one, those shadows fade away, without a sound....

The last to step aboard, he turns toward the field again,
and prays for all the fallen, whether enemy or friend.
The horrors of this Valley fight will never free his heart,
just like the shrapnel wedged within a soul now blown apart.



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Dedicated to Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore who led troops numbering 4,000 in the battle of la Drang Valley; a pivotal battle that changed the course of the Vietnam War. The Vietnamese troops numbered 20,000. Casualties and loss of life was huge on both sides.

This is also inspired by the movie We Were Soldiers, which in my opinion, was one of the best war movies ever made, as it depicted both the US troops and the Vietnamese as being human, just like everyone else. The Vietnamese were family men protecting their country, and who would do whatever they had to, to achieve that. Just like Americans would do, or any other countrymen called to arms.

Who were we to judge?

Photo courtesy of New York Times, Google Images. Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore.




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