The official Sebastian Junger community
THE OLD GUARD
We are veterans of the Vietnam War.
Time is counting the cadence now as the years march us into
history. The battlefields where we screamed and cried and bled
and died settle like falling leaves onto its pages.
We make our daily pilgrimage to the seductive siren on the rocks-
Our Lady of the Valley of the Shadow - Vietnam.
She has been our companion for so long now that it would be hard
to imagine life without her. Indeed, we would be like lost children.
She is the tapestry against which all things are compared. We
measure everything and everyone by the yardstick of our
experience with her.
Today she may return us to a mountain top overlooking a cloud
shrouded emerald green valley. Tomorrow may bring a visit to the
place with the dark, blood soaked sand and the bits of
sticky, drying flesh.
We have that secret place that we retreat to when the outside
world gets too close. Its where we go to deal with hurtful things.
It is the place where we keep the little locked box with the bad
things in it. There we are still soldiers...it is our bunker.
Jame Elton Bethea
HHC, 2/503, 173rd Airborne
Bien Hoa, Vietnam 1965/1966
©2009 James E. Bethea