A Pocketful of Dreams

Reads: 47  | Likes: 1  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic

I am a Vietnam Veteran. And as such, I was a participant and not simply an observer from afar. I was there in the hot humid days and in the endless lonely nights. I saw the despondency in the eyes of my fellow soldiers, and I heard the despair and dejection in their voices, as they mindlessly went about their daily tasks. This was my war -- the war of a generation of naïve and untested boys and young men.

A POCKETFUL OF DREAMS

By Al Garcia

I am a Vietnam Veteran.  And as such, I was a participant and not simply an observer from afar.  I was there in the hot humid days and in the endless lonely nights.  I saw the despondency in the eyes of my fellow soldiers, and I heard the despair and dejection in their voices, as they mindlessly went about their daily tasks.  This was my war -- the war of a generation of naïve and untested boys and young men.  We were an army of dreamers, romantics and even idealists, answering the call of a nation at war.  

Wars are never as expected, for once begun, they take on a life of their own, without regard, consideration or respect for the body, the mind or the soul of those tasked with the brutality, the cruelty and the callousness, that once released in the name of country, honor, duty or even political party – unleashes a darkness that can overwhelm and consume the innocence of brave young boys and men.

I saw and heard the smoldering and howling flames of war as it devoured and destroyed the best of us.  It was slow and hideous, and yet our men, women and even boys, like in all past wars, just marched on without a disparaging word.  Each soldier, each man, an island onto himself.  They were soldiers, one and all, as was I.  Too young to fully understand or even comprehend what exactly we were doing so far away from home, and yet too old to cry or walk away. 

So, Vietnam was personal to me.  It remains a living memory that never fades or goes away.  It gnaws at my heart and my soul with such force and might, that at times I feel the guilt of having lived beyond the days so many no longer share with me. 

And I dream.  And I wonder about all the dreams that died so long ago in a place so far from home.  And it is then that I wish I had a pocket full of dreams for everyone that never got a chance to live their dreams or see the sun rise or the moon set, or feel the moon rays warm the cockles of their hearts with the beauty and serenity of the night.

So, it was with the pain of having lived, and having to relive every day of my life, that traumatic chapter of my life, that I began to relive yet again, the potency and the revulsion of war, as I saw, heard and felt the unhinged waves of insurgency on the steps and the halls of our Nation’s Capitol.  The scenes I saw on January 6, 2021, brought back the nightmares that for so long have defined my life and my existence.  It made me think of the ultimate sacrifices made, and the tens of thousands of shattered dreams that never came to be.  And, here on the steps and halls of our Capitol, I now saw the consequence of our effort and our sacrifice.  Here in the Valley alone, over 125 young men died in Vietnam to help spread the word that democracy was worth the effort and the sacrifice.  And now, I saw an insurrection aimed at tearing down the very walls of that democracy – not by an invading army or foreign enemies, but rather, by the very people for whom we fought and died, in an effort to preserve, to protect and to defend that very citadel of our democracy.

How was I supposed to feel?  How could I not hang my head down in shame and shed a thousand tears for those no longer here to see the treachery and betrayal of their sacrifice?

And then, there was the statement made five days after the insurrection by Melania Trump in a tweet stating that "This time is solely about healing our country and its citizens. It should not be used for personal gain."  Why is she telling us this?  We are the ordinary people struggling, suffering and dying.  Why didn’t she tell this to her husband, then President of the United States?  Why not help reign in the madness and the insanity?  Why not remember the lives already lost and the blood and tears already shed over generations of struggles and endeavors at home and abroad, to expand and magnify the idea and ideals of the rule of law, the voice of the people, and the adherence to civility and respect? 

How, I ask, does the insurgency of January 6, 2021, after our national election where the people spoke through their votes, begin to heal our nation?  What did Mrs. Trump see in the insurgency to suggest healing, that I did not see?  What words did she hear uttered by her husband (Donald J. Trump) to his loyal and unquestioning supporter at the rally moments before the storming of our Capitol, that urged them to begin to heal and come together?  I must have missed those words.

How sad and even demeaning to see and hear the words and actions of those in power and those with limitless riches, as they sit back and judge the lives and voices of those of us who dared to believe and trust in the idea and ideal of our America. 

I am a Vietnam Veteran, a patriot and native of this wonderful Valley.  I was a participant and not simply an observer of a war many of us did not understand or even comprehend.  I was there in Vietnam, in the hot humid days and in the endless lonely nights.  I saw the despondency in the eyes of my fellow soldiers, and I heard the despair and dejection in their voices, as they mindlessly went about their daily tasks.  This was my war -- the war of a generation of naïve and untested boys and young men.  We were an army of dreamers, romantics and even idealists, answering the call of a nation at war.  And when I saw the rage and hate in the faces of those who stormed our Capitol, it reawakened the evil and the pain of war that took so many dreams away.

And now, I am left with only a pocket full of dreams, overshadowed now by the images of a maddening crowd of Americans gone mad.


Submitted: June 02, 2021

© Copyright 2021 A.Garcia. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:


Facebook Comments

Other Content by A.Garcia