Piercing the skies, Saigon is beneath my wings,
The war is going, hold onto the God-given freedom
Pilot Duc, take me in, there the Viet Cong atrocities
An Loc, Tay Ninh, Trang Bang, the mother earth is burning.
Hold onto me, go ahead and break my wings.
June 8, 1972, the lonely An Loc is under siege,
Trang Bang is under attack, there come the North Vietnamese
Children, men, and women keep running
The Communists are so close, Duc, let me in.
Just you, Duc, and me now,
Stop the enemy from charging South Vietnamese units,
Get the napalm in, go ahead, release it from my body
They are firing upon me; oh, I am hit, not bad.
Back to the airbase, you landed me on the familiar tarmac,
You folded my wings for a rest
Waiting to be called on the next sortie
War, who is invading the Southland with war;
Duc, we will pull through this, keep your faith in me.
Oh, no, who took the photo of my fight?
That’s awful, I burned the little girl, Duc, I did it.
You fought the Viet Cong, stopping their atrocities
Don’t cry now, Duc, our country needs you, keep fighting
Another sortie request just came in, hurry, get on my wing.
Twenty-four years later,
Eleventh of November, 1996, at the Wall…
The nine-year-old girl in the photo, now a woman,
Who finally escaped the Viet Cong for freedom
What did she want? And who put her there?
Duc, say it, say: "I am that man."
Linh Duy Vo
(The Boy in the Poem)
My thanks to former South Vietnam pilot Duc Tu Nguyen (VNAF, Third Division in Bien Hoa, A-1 Skyraider Squadron 518) for his lovely "thank you" Hallmark card for my book of poetry Dear Daddy. I thought Duc's personal inscription would mean much to my papa-san on The Wall. I left it there on the rainy morning, Veterans Day, 1998.
See "Eddie Adams"
© Copyright by Linh Duy Vo. All rights reserved.