Rest in Peace, Colonel. Here is a poem from me to you, your families and all of your men!
August 21, 2011
Dedication: To those who fought in and around Khe Sanh during the Vietnam War, to the friends and families of the wounded, to the memory of the fallen, and to those who survived. Thanks to Ray W. Stubbe (one of many) who provided spiritual guidance at Khe Sanh and for his founding of the Khe Sanh Veterans Group and homepage.
Herman Augusta Lohman, Jr.
G Company, 2nd Batallion, 26th Marines, 3rd Marines Division, III MAF,
United States Marine Corps.
January 24, 1948 – April 6, 1968
The Wall: Panel 48E Line 029
It was written that Herman Lohman was a good soldier and tried to help other soldiers get used to the reality of being in a warzone in Vietnam.
Hills for Soldiers
April 6, 1968, Hill 700 – Khe Sanh, Vietnam
Charts have numbers, hills counted and labeled
Mentors amid combat, among bodies young and able
In blood shedding, posterity left to study,
Blown to pieces, others in fright, pastes on Hell’s canvas, all muddy
Hilltops, the taking an accomplishment, from here and beyond Hamburger Hill
To flesh out a story, sea of memory awash ever still,
Paper, each blank sheet an opportunity to tally cost
Seeking checks and balances of souls, concerning pensiveness on loss
Be they in
our quiet minds, chapels, human hearts deep
Prayer is not reason, but closure sought in answers which seep
Into that cross-section, between prayers said and heard
At the inclines of Lohman’s Hill, elsewhere for cheeks’ weepings, stirred.
Wherever grown men cry
Having found that knowledge of leaving comrades in time behind
Growing old, soldiers tell
Of youthful days of rigor, when men thought death could not come to them
To be ever stronger, to take high-grounded hills.
Lament the dead, lament the dying
For what human heart has not been touched, by the meter of poetic clutch
Better still, by unwritten messages in falling chests left sighing
How could mere words ever know how to value or convey so much?
Heaven screams out in eagles
Only birds view vastness further, far.
Upon cordite fields, put down star-spangled banners
Take up their last breaths alone
Swear to them, as you yourself love humanity
Words are for the living to ask in transcendence
That angels guard, and among you may roam.
All I could ever ask a God or Gods for?
If anything other than to love my family for eternity
Abrupt, sight changing back for fighting men departed
From gray fading into color
Ages and ages hence, life will be asked for them… if it can be, be it this:
Give colors to Fall semesters of life, tears splattering wet leaves stuck to ground
Human life may yet return to youth, divine
Through color once more seen by baby eyes for the first time,
The wheel of eternal rebirth in life, spinning round.
Dissolve the drums of war, reach into the nether beyond, for dead soldiers’ await interred
We, the living, are apt enough pupils to grip spiritual forms
To hold them as echoes in daydreams – to understand, to learn.
Give ourselves, the living and dearly departed,
Hope from this battlefield to that, to finish in honored memory what love has started,
From Flander’s Fields to Lohman’s hill,
May wiser men love Mankind still.
Fiery sprays of ordinance spent, turning existence upon hills into dark time expired
Death becomes us all, but love without half-life lingers out of this hardest marrow
Into the blink of eternity – what never will be again – to retire?:
Where goes all of fighting men’s sorrow?
In solicitude, this want of whispers to reclaim them, sought by human design, in rawest desire.
Copyright 2011. William Bradley Hinton. All Rights Reserved.