Note: The following was written by Pam Oberdier Webb In Honor and Memory of Charles Gary Oberdier on Memorial Day 2014. I work with her cousin. It is reprinted here with permission.
A young man just out of high school, received a letter in the mail.
Report for basic training, from there you’ll receive more detail.
The letter also stated “You’ve been selected by your neighbors and your friend
You have no choice, You’ll go to war, Your country you must defend.”
The young mans heart got heavy as he dropped to his knees.
Oh Lord keep me safe while I’m called to duty, please.
He hugged his family, his lady, his neighbors and his friend.
I’ll proudly go and risk my life-Your Freedom I’ll defend.
He left for basic training, Then to aviation school
Where he learned to repair an aircraft; using every tool.
Then the detail came of his duty in the war.
He would maintain the aircraft and be a gunner by the door.
You’ll keep the chopper in the air by checking all the parts,
YOU will be responsible to see this chopper starts.
Your duty by the door-now the gun is in your hand,
Shoot at the enemy and cover your fellow man.
Your ordered-Do not fire unless you’re fired upon,
But don’t wait too long for if you do this chopper may be gone.
Then an order came, he didn’t like what he must do.
A chopper had been shot down-It was a fellow crew.
The captain gave the order, “Since they took our chopper down
When we are finished with the day there will be nothing left of their town.”
The young man now a soldier did what he was asked.
He closed his eyes and tried real hard to desensitize the task.
When his tour was over-A debriefing he went through.
“You’re free to go back to your life-Nothing has happened to you.
Do not talk about what went on while you were called to serve.
You’ll be fine nothing has changed, A normal life you deserve.”
As he returned to the states expecting a welcome back,
He received the opposite by protestors ready to attack.
How could this be, the letter said You sent me to this land.
I risked my life for you-Your protest I do not understand.
Years went by as the soldier tried to readjust.
A normal life is what he wanted but he had lost his trust.
His country turned their back on him after fighting in their war,
The nightmares of the conflict chilled him to his core.
Though the memories haunted him each and every day
He continued to serve his duty but in a different way.
He became a Hero to his family, neighbors and friends.
His heart was full of love for them and he showed it with his hands.
He lived his life in service, helping everyone he could
Trying to forget the nightmares of the war, by doing only good.
The day would come that his service on this earth was finally done.
God opened his arms, welcomed him home and said Thank You my son!
Being a Vietnam vet I know his welcome home only to we'll. I lost friends that day and to this day some still haven't changed their minds of the Vietnam War. I fill sorry for them. I really enjoyed this poem.
Thank you for your service, Jerry! I am so sorry about the loss of your friends. I cannot imagine how that must feel. Yes, this poem is very moving.