"The Wall" was written in memory of my father, a Marine, who served two tours in Vietnam. He died several years ago of cancer. My inspiration for this poem was the many moving scenes of family members visiting what I consider to be "most sacred" ground.

LCDR Kelly Strong, USCG

The Wall

                The night was cold, I was ten years old,

                   When the Chaplain made his call.

                   The news was bad, my mother was sad

                   When she heard of my father's fall.


                       An ambush he said, they all were dead.

                   The words were shocking and cold.

                       Eight others had died, eight other wives cried,

                       For young men who would never grow old.


                The years quickly passed, it seemed so fast,

                       With no father to show me the way.

                        But I knew from the start, deep down in my heart,

                We'd be together forever one day.


                  Through the laughter and tears, the months and the years,

                      I kept hearing ITS  far-away call.

               The day was cold, I was forty years old,

                 When my eyes first set sight on THE WALL


                      It seemed ancient yet new, as if somehow on cue,

                When I saw it the earth became still.

               And my memory once gray, became focused that day,

                     Of a man who now suddenly seemed real.


               No more tears filled my eyes, no more lifetime of "whys?"

                  All the answers I'd found in this place.

               With the touch of his name, gone was sorrow and pain,

               And bad memories were quickly erased.


                      As I stared into the black, my father stared back.

               And he smiled, and my heart filled with joy.

                      I said: "Welcome home Dad, what a journey you've had."

                      He said: "It's sure great to be home, my boy!"

Copyright © 1995 By Kelly Strong, USCG, All Rights Reserved