Vietnam: The Life of a Soldier


I am just a lowly soldier among the US Army.

I was sent to Vietnam because I had no future.

No plans. No wealth. Hell, I’m just a young boy.

I’m only 17. And mom and dad knew what Vietnam was like.

Over the news of course. They watched every night.


When I was younger, most of us boys didn’t know what Vietnam was.

We didn’t even know it was a country. But our teachers taught us something.

“Hate the communists!” They would preach. Our priests would say that too.

Most of my friends believed that communists were evil.

They believed they were hell-spawn.

But not me. I told them they aren’t evil.

They called me names. Teachers would punish me.

Some priests threatened to ex-communicate me.

It made me feel like the world was on my shoulders.

I ran home all the time. And cried in my mother’s shoulders.

At least she was there to comfort me.


Soon enough, I was 17. And after three days of being 17….

I checked the mail. I opened an envelope from “the man.”

It was a draft. I felt my knees buckle. My eyes tearing up.

I felt like fate wanted me to do this. But I didn’t want to.

I showed it to my parents. All they said was, “You’re going.”

I cried, “Why?” They answered, “It’s the law.”

I joined. I trained. I was shipped.

I noticed when leaving from the USA something about my mom.

She was crying. She saw the carnage on the news.

She didn’t want me to die. I was too young she probably thought.

But I had to do what I had to do.


I landed in Khe Sanh. I had my M16, my helmet, my supplies.

It was late at night and the Colonel said, “Get rest.”

I went to my barracks and I slumbered. I dreamt about living in Hawaii.

It was a much better paradise than this. It was humid as hell.


By dawn, I was awakened. Bombs, artillery, mortars, rapid assault fire.

Everywhere. It was the first day of my experience in battle.

I thought we were facing the enemy up front. But we couldn’t see.

But surely, they could see us. The Colonel shouted.

“They’re in the tree lines! Keep firing! We’re surrounded! We’re being sieged!”

I remember grabbing my M16 and just spraying.

I killed what… ten? Twenty? I just sprayed because I was afraid.

A soldier grabbed me and said, “Fear is just a state of mind. Just let go.”

He gave me something to calm me down. Maybe it was morphine?

Anyways, I took careful aim and fought back. But fate had to hit me.

It literally did.

A Vietnamese mortar launched into the air and the mortar hit me in the head.

It exploded and sent me flying.

A soldier rushed towards me. I was reported KIA (Killed in Action).


My family was devastated. I died on the first day in Khe Sanh.

They saw what the Vietnam War was like:

Death. Destruction. Not even worth a life for.

When I was buried, it was closed casket.


If my final request was heard, it would be this.

Damn it. Get everyone in America to notice the carnage.

Help us. Send us back home.

The American people are our only hope.



This is actually my first free-verse poem and my first poem I ever wrote. I hope you like it. I plan to add more as my creativity goes.

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