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Remembering Vietnam, Memorial Day, 2017

By CHARLES W. BRICE

 

“To all those who have established and are maintaining the right

to refuse to kill. Their foresight and courage give us hope.”

– Monument to Conscientious Objectors,

Tavistock Square, London, England

Some went because they believed in their bones and blood, without

filigree, that they were defending our freedom.

 

Others were too unimaginative to do anything else—metabolized propaganda

with an M16—like cattle to the slaughterhouse, they followed their leaders.

 

Some served because their lives were disappearing down the swirling

commodes of the universe, or because they were terrified

not to serve. What would their families think if they didn’t go?

What would God do to them?

 

There were those who knew they’d excel at killing people

and couldn’t do that legally anywhere else. Ian and Gerry, brothers

I played baseball with, competed for how many ears they could collect.

 

Some didn’t go. I didn’t go. I served as a Conscientious Objector,

lucky to know that I couldn’t live with myself if I killed another human being.

 

We C.O.s deserve to be remembered today.

We served our country, not our government.

We tried to make the world a better place

and, like all the others, we failed.

 

Charles W. Brice is a retired psychoanalyst and is the author of Flashcuts Out of Chaos (WordTech Editions, 2016) and Mnemosyne’s Hand (WordTech Editions, 2018). His poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in The Atlanta Review, Hawaii Review, The Main Street Rag, Chiron Review, Fifth Wednesday Journal, SLAB, The Paterson Literary Review, Spitball, Plainsongs and elsewhere.

 (TMC newspaper VOL. 48 No.8 October 2018. All rights reserved)

 

 

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