|335th Radio Research Company
Courtesy of Tanner O'Neil
|“Win the war by ‘64.” I stand in front of the wall, that goddamn slogan running through my head, wanting to reach out and touch the cool marble, but all I can do is shake — feel the dampness of the rain, just like before. Or is it my tears that run down my neck, saturated my shirt, dripping - seeping through the scar tissue to penetrate my soul?
It’s New Years Day, 1998, but all my focus is on another New Year celebration —
The wind whips around my face, cutting deep, the pain reminding me again that you never forget, that all you have to do is pretend that what happened thirty years ago had finally been put to rest. That the Tet Offensive never happened. That a war-harden Marine Captain, a survivor, well into his second tour of duty, could be brought to his knees after it was over — after they’d retaken control, after he’d pulled dead Marines out of his Embassy, after his hand had linger briefly on the bullet-ridden Great Seal of the United States, just part of the rubble and remains of the attempted takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.
I want to leave this place — I’m not ready, not yet, not even after thirty years, but the crush from the crowd pushes me closer to the wall, so close my hand shoots out, pushing flat against the wall, covering at least twenty names, the names of men whose lives had been stripped away in that God-forsaken hellhole. I lower my face until my breath warms the dead marble. And as the rain and my tears and my broken heart and soul all gave up to the madness, a thousand trumpets played Taps.