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For that little southeast Asian charade For that fiercest of games we played They gave no welcome-home parade Fighting for freedom...far and away in Vietnam Knee deep in mud, blood and fear Fear that’s lasted many a bloody year. There was no ticker-tape parade, or such No hurrahs...no cookies...no punch Not so much as a half-hearted cheer For surviving hell our most excruciating year. Though we didn’t ask for much... By a grateful nation we wanted only to be heard Wanted folks to hear our tales of war’s absurd. We had so bloody much hurt to get off our chest For devotion to duty honored with our country’s best Just wanting to be recognized For boyish youth in cruel war sacrificed But America was just too weary of war To welcome back boyhood soldiers war bore. Men sorely staggered by war’s bloody insanity Face now a bleak destiny Futures beset with demonic fear’s depravity I guess that’s why folks back here couldn’t see How young value systems were twisted for eternity How on young boys was impressed war’s barbarity Giving rise to upheavals witnessed in war’s inhumanity. So embarrassed, folks back home gave no parade, No welcome home accolade For warriors wounded in body and spirit Soldiers disillusioned, lied to, desolate... Men laid low by moral depravity’s greatest hit Were turned away while countrymen on us spit. Folks back home called us every conceivable name For erstwhile young princes held such contemptuous shame Calling us depraved baby killers, castigated with blame. We’d so much to talk about of where we did roam But found the only ones welcoming our arrival home Were our mothers...and beastly traumatic stress syndrome. Seeing the war daily on television made Vietnam a condemned charade People just too uncomfortable to honor with a parade Returning warriors with souls burned-out Who’d seen too much, no doubt Waving the flag, all hale to their glory shout Vietnam veterans buried “issues” down extra deep Deep down in the dank where scary demons yet creep Regurgitating violence that plumb our soul’s great depths Forevermore haunted by comrades-in-arms' deaths Recurring memories of war’s hot fiery breath Is it any wonder, vets now walk...so unafraid of death? Parades are reserved for conquering heroes, glories to flaunt Not for those whom Nam’s deep, dank jungles still haunt. Not for those with compounded fears from a foreign land abused With dread inlaid by vagaries of a non-caring world confused Our fears earned fighting for home, freedom, beloved land Great horrors, our people, did not even try to understand. Beloved countrymen did not, would not, could not hear Would not try their best to comfort a fellow man’s harrowing fear By a nation we loved, unceremoniously denied Promises not kept by a country we with all our hearts loved, Bled for...died For honor given, our country gave dishonor... Yet Vietnam veterans still dream of the ticker-tape parade Dreams still blow in the wind of a welcome home fusillade For that war of a surety won by the blade Lost only by politician’s bumbling charade Our sacrifice in honor deprecated Enslaving promises forever subjugated...decimated...trampled That parade that should have been... But never was...our nation’s great sin...

By Bill Schieber 2002