As I come up over the lip of the hill
I see it, spread out there, deep in a valley
From the foot of the hill to the far horizon
One great mass of humanity
Covering every square foot of ground
Swaying back and forth, in near silence
Their eyes are closed
Their arms remain slack
And their lips are tightly pursed
Their movement creates human waves
That slowly roll across the valley
From one side of the valley floor to the other
The only sound is a swooshing
Like the sound of a field of wheat
Moving to and fro in a gentle breeze
I am staggered by what lays before me
The sight sucks the air from my lungs
The sound rakes through my ears
Then I feel a wind begin to push me forward
I try to dig my heels in, to resist
But the wind seems to lift me off the ground
I begin to float down the slope
Toward the swaying mass below
I can't stop my drop and start to cry
I cry because I start to remember
I start to remember how I got here
And I start to realize where I am
I think I remember where I had been;
It was a place called;
Or was it Chapultepec?
Or maybe it was Fredericksburg
No, I think it was Wounded Knee
No, No, it was Belleau Wood!
Oh, that's not it!
Maybe it was Auschwitz
No I think it was the Yalu River
Or was it My Lai?
I know, It was Haditha!
God, I can't remember!
But, I do remember the blood!
And the smell!
And, oh God, I remember how it felt!
Oh God! I'm almost down!
I'm almost at the bottom!
I'm going to merge with the mass below!
Here it comes!
Here it is!
And finally, dissolution
I dissolve into the mass of humanity
And begin to sway
With eyes closed, arms slack, and lips pursed
It is finished
Jim Bush is a 67 year old, Vietnam-era veteran, currently living in Texas. He was raised in a military family. His father received the Silver Star for directing troops while under air attack at Clark Field in the Phillipines, survived the Bataan (more...)