From Vietnam Veterans Against the War,

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Eighteen Years Before He Died (poem)

By Marc Levy

At first light Mike walks point across the flat dry field.
Behind him, the medic I once was, twenty-two barrel
Pointed south, our foot steps launching small white clouds.

We're hunting ground hogs, you understand,
Not like the green time, hunting each other down.
But today, under a bright Michigan sun
There'll be no shouts or body count.

In the distance, reactor stacks jut against the open sky.
In the eye of my mind I frame the scene, step into it,
Proclaim: Medic with rifle and nuclear power–
It's the perfect holiday card!

You wouldn't, says Mike.
I toss him my camera. Hold the pose.
Tell him, take the picture. Take it.


That year my vet friends got the gag.
Most civilians didn't.
Patrol, jungle, ambush, monsoon—
What do they know of such things?

It grows late. Here's to Charles 'Mike' Wilson—
Third platoon RTO, loving father and husband,
Hard worker, avid sportsman, killer of ground hogs.
Lover of life.

—Marc Levy

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