To Richard Smith
Richard Smith, 1948-2002
||He knew a life of privilege
And saw injustice around him;
He knew the obligation of brotherhood
And joined his comrades in hell.
He knew the pain of combat
And saw his neighbors fall;
He knew the anguish of survival
And buried it in his soul.
He knew a friend who would listen
And shared his tormented heart;
He knew the release of death
And joined his brothers in peace.
Richard Smith had been
a neighbor and schoolmate when we were kids in Haddonfield. I heard
from him a few years ago and we began corresponding via email, sharing
memories of Haddonfield and of the Vietnam War.
I was saddened to hear that Richard
had passed away on April 15, 2002. I don't think he would mind if
I shared a few of his thoughts about being a Vietnam veteran...
|"Combat veterans from Haddonfield
were kinda rare. I really think that's part of the reason I went.
We grew up so privileged, how could we send all those Delaware Township
and Camden [boys] to die? I thought I had an obligation to go."
"Well here I am crying again, pretty
idiotic for a 47 year old, but then I've just gone through over 20 years
without shedding a tear. It's not unusual from what I've read of
other combat vets. But every time I acknowledge my own pain, I feel
guilty because so many have suffered more."
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Updated 28 April 2002