He stood beside his father..
staring up at that huge, dark monument in front of him.
He watched as his father ran his hand across that Wall.
"Daddy," he said,"Who are these people?"
After wiping at his eyes, the boy's father answered,
"These are the names of the men and women who fought in Vietnam."
As his father knelt to place one single flower at the base of this Wall,
which the boy had never seen before, he asked,
"What happened to them? Why are their names engraved here?"
His father, looking the other way, replied,
"They were killed in the war..some just never came back."
"Were they very old?" the boy inquired,
looking down at that one solitary flower.
Gazing down, his father answered,
"Not really-" he meant to say something else, but stopped himself.
"What did they die for?" the boy asked, interested.
"For their country," the answer came back..
almost as a whisper.
After a moment, the boy said,
"Daddy? When I'm old enough..will you want me to die for my country?"
His father stood and they walked alongside of that ominous, black Wall...
written by Michelle Bier
( May 27th, 1991)
This short story is dedicated to my dad, John L. Williams,
a Marine in Vietnam.
I am lucky to have him and I couldn't be prouder.