A cold November rain fell as my plane landed.
I slung my duffel bag over my shoulder.
There are no marching bands, no news crew,
not even someone offering to shake my hand.
The papers talked of the protests and rallies against the Vietnam
I can't say that I agree or disagree with them.
After being in that god forsaken hell hole of a jungle for four
I'm glad to be home, alive, and in one piece.
A lot of my fellow soldiers were not so lucky.
As I started across the airfield looking and hoping to see
The door open and I paused, anxiously.
It's just a service man coming to inspect the plane before its
I drop my head.
I guess he either hates or is ashamed of us.
But why, we were just pawns.
We just did what we were told to do.
We thought we were saving a country from the communist
I shook the thoughts from my head and began to move again.
I'll call a cab, but where will I go? I could go home I
but since none of my family is here, would they want me to come
I turned to watch a trolley hook the plane up to take it to be
A heavy object hit my leg and wraps around it.
A small boy with a crew cut was clutching my leg
and yelling, "Uncle, you're home."
Tears welled up in my eyes.
I dropped my bag and scooped him up into my arms
and proceeded to squeeze the breath out of him. "Uncle I missed you so much, you've been gone so
I see his tears of joy, mingled with the rain, running down his
I looked into his eyes and knew that he didn't see me as a
or a villain, a savior or murderer,
only his beloved uncle whom had returned.
If only the rest of the world could see through the eyes of this
I heard my sister's voice calling through the rain.
I see her, my other sister and my brothers coming through the
There were hugs, hand shakes and kisses all around.
They took me to a restaurant for a massive shrimp cocktail
My nephew never left my side and even though it was 2:00 am
he was still awake and refused to go to sleep
until I promised him that I was home to stay.
He curled up in my lap and quickly fell asleep.
During dinner, I rubbed his prickly head and my mind went
Back to the steamy jungle, constant fear, snipers, land mines,
hunger, disease, and worse of all, your fellow soldiers dying in
The rain, the rain, I think I would be all right,
If it weren't for the rain.
by Donnie Gillespie
... who is a computer technician and freelance writer of fiction
and poetry, with previous work appearing in his local area.