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The Old Chief Spoke His Mind

Written as an invitation by my good friend Kenneth.

Written as an invitation by my good friend Kenneth.

Back in sixty-five, the last thing that was on my mind, Vietnam War,

All I wanted to do was go to college, didn't know what was in store.

Went to school a while, then as the war heated up, came the draft.

I began to feel like I was out in left field, on the ocean without a raft.

My Dad and uncles were in the Navy, and I decided that was for me,

Went up to Atlanta by bus, couldn't wait for Uncle Sam to set me free.

Got in long line after another line, doctors examining you everywhere,

Those who joined treated like gold, the drafted ones, very much unfair.


At last, I was seen by the last doctor, the one who said yea or nay,

He told me Uncle Sam didn't want "spoiled meat", is all he did say.

I wanted to join and get the "G.I.Bill", helping me to pay for school,

They told me to see the old Navy Chief, he could help bend a rule.

In my high school, I had suffered a broken spine, football not for me,

The scar on my back said it all and was as plain as rain for all to see.

The Navy Chief sat, smoked a pack of cigarettes, at the roof to stare,

When I asked why I couldn't go, he ignored me, not a word to spare.

The Chief spoke to the doctor then, told him it would be a such a sin,

Kids like me going off to Vietnam, spill my guts in paddies, me to send.

In darkness, I rode the bus back home, made up my mind to carry on.

Went on to college to study hard, then became a teacher, never alone.

Lost some friends in that old war, could never help them, even the score,

I spent twenty-five years in the classroom, helping disabled, if a lot more.

Got four degrees but it never would help, the emptiness that I always felt

Left my friends out there on those fields, a jungle heat, that never yields.


I've tried to justify just why we went, over there those were sent,

What good did it do, what accomplishment made, was the intent?

More than fifty-eight-thousand soldiers lost in those Asian climes,

I still sit and ponder the cause, with no real reasons, any rhymes.

When good men and women have to perish, lose lives all cherish,

Citizens on a nation's soil earned rights with human toil, to flourish.

There has to be a very good reason, in a cause, Americans do go.

Not to put money in some rich man's accounts, or to see oil to flow.

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