by Cpl. Robert Lin Cook
Jan 1942-Sep 1945

I never had the privilege
to serve in Vietnam.
I had my war
and that was it,
into that war
I didn't fit.
So, I sat on
the sidelines
and gave it
all I had.
It wasn't much
I do agree
and I was 
really sad
to see youth
slaughtered
for reasons
I found bad.

We came away
from that conflict
with no victory 
we could claim.
It was no fault
of our Marines,
they fought a fight
with all their might and
kept their honor clean.

The outcome would
have been different
had they left it
to our choice.
We carried out
decisions in which
we had no voice.

Commands
that came from
Washington
were flawed and
not well made.
We were fighting a war,
Not going on parade!
Leave fighting
to the Marines
has always been
the way.
Don't mess with
our strategy 
or live to
rue the day.

They sent them home 
one by one,
no greetings
or parades.
The people for
whom they fought
did not a 
welcome make.
The government
ignored them,
small attention
did they get,
just enough
to placate 
and not too 
bloody great.

No matter if
another war
should come
and come
 they surely will.
There will never 
ever be a war
that haunts us 
. . .Still.

*     *     *
​The author: Robert Lin Cook served with Reg. Weapons Co. (2d-2d) from 1942-44, at Guadalcanal and Tarawa during a 33-month overseas tour.

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The Nam
Wounded in head and knee, Marine GySgt Jeremiah Purdie is led past a stricken comrade after a fierce firefight for control of Hill 484, south of the DMZ. South Vietnam, 1966.