Comments and Dedications
Val in Lakewood, Colorado
3 Sep.74 through 2 Sep.77 US Army.
Ray in Lakewood, Colorado
Glad to see your site. Especially nice this time of year when a lot of us vets find ourselves alone, or, simply wanting to be alone. Great photo of whomever you are. I will send one of my self "in country" as soon as I learn how to do such.
I am going with my
nephews to spend Thanks giving and
glad to be home (again) after five
weeks as a civilian in Afghanistan.
I wish each and every one of you
well and am here to talk about
anything that may come up. We are
getting much older by the day. More
dispersed by illness and
dislocation. But, we are all proud
vets so let's "hold it together" and
be glad we are home safe but maybe
not so sound.
R. Walz in Vancouver, Washington
His Name Was Wayne:
A Common Man’s Dedication to an Uncommon Man
His name was Wayne, though to most of us he was simply Wayne Bo. I'm not sure I ever knew his last name, either that or too many years have gone by and I've long since forgotten. Wayne was probably in his early to mid forties when I knew him and we worked together setting tile back in 1993. Wayne was a soft spoken easy-going sort. The kind of guy you could quickly warm up to and easily pass the time with. Though hardly an old man, to look at his face you'd swear to the Almighty Himself that Wayne was pushing sixty. It was a face that had aged from years of chain-smoking Lucky Strikes and hard drinking. You see, Wayne was a soldier once and his scarred and wrinkled face was like a worn and tattered old roadmap that revealed every horror and every atrocity it had witnessed in his time spent in Vietnam.
One day after work, several of the crew got together to drink a few beers and share a few laughs as we wrapped up another week. I don't recall exactly how we got going on the subject, but as guys will often do, we started talking about war and combat. For most of us, the war stories were nothing more than exaggerated secondhand accounts, or perhaps our own take on the latest Hollywood war film, since we were too young to have enlisted or seen any real combat. But to Wayne, war stories were not the subject of casual talk and he rarely, if ever, spoke of his experiences in ‘Nam. For him, the stories to be told were in reality never told and were safely locked away in his memory.
On this particular afternoon, however, the lock was broken and a very different side of Wayne came out. The trigger mechanism was some unsuspecting 18 year-old kid who thought he might try and impress the older guys with his own sense of bravado, which included how tough he would be when the bullets started flying. To this point, the normally conversive Wayne had been quiet, apparently content to just sit and listen. However, upon hearing the brashness of the kid, Wayne was silent no more. The next five or so minutes was Wayne’s horrific account of a night spent in a foxhole during the brutal Tet Offensive, during which he encountered floods of NVA regulars and VC throughout the night. Oddly, the foxhole story in and of itself was not all that unusual. In fact, it was a strangely familiar story that we’ve all heard variations of or seen in dozens of films. But Wayne’s story was indeed different and the difference was not in his words. Wayne’s real story was contained in his eyes. At that very moment, Wayne was re-living his night in the foxhole for the first time in over twenty-five years and there was very tangible torment and anguish there. It was as if every threat, every bullet and every fear was alive and fighting to exit him and it was all aimed at the young kid. Never before, or since have I experienced anything quite like the un-intentioned, albeit ignorant “cracking open” of someone’s personal hell. It was on that afternoon through Wayne’s eyes, when his emotional wounds were reopened and began profusely bleeding that I began to understand what a soldier’s sacrifice truly was.
Wayne Bo my old friend, I have no idea where you are, or if you’re even walking among the living, but I don’t think I ever thanked you for your sacrifice in Vietnam, for silently carrying that heavy burden through so many years, and for having to suffer it again so many years later. I know you didn’t mean any ill-will against the kid that day, he was just being stupid and you were just tormented.
Wayne, I pray God your wounds have healed and you are never again forced to face your demons. I know your scars will always remain, but it is my fervent hope and prayer that they remain forever closed. But most of all Wayne Bo, I want to thank you for opening my eyes. You will not be forgotten.
Chip in Westminster, CO