Toward Peace, 1967

Vietnam was burning and battered.
North and South were locked in a duel;
Danang was torn and shattered.
The children had no school.

From Viet Cong rocket and mortar attacks
Kids were traumatized, aimless, and frightened.
We rebuilt a demolished French schoolhouse,
And their future immediately brightened.

Army and Navy, Air Force and Marines–
To raise up those walls we pitched in.
Then stood back and watched the miracle
As kids regained purpose within.

In a time when lives came apart at the seams,
Children now had structure, and purpose, and hope.
The school restored balance, direction, and dreams,
Security, friends, and ability to cope.

Small hands they would eagerly raise
To be called on to demonstrate knowledge,
And be recognized with appropriate praise.
(Though young, some aspired to college!)

Among the beautiful pictures
That hang on memory's wall:
My image of happy learners
Upon whom their schoolmaster would call.

–Will Walsh ©2017