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Ashe County Veterans History Project: Letters to Soldiers


Christmas Letters to Soldiers during Desert Storm

Two-Part Poem by Barbara Sears from Letters Sent and Received During Vietnam


Thoughts of you come and linger

As I picture you in a diseased swamp with a gun in your hands,

Dirt and grizzle on your face, a helmet on your head, and

                death on your mind.

I wretch inside when radios blast news of American deaths,

And newspaper headlines announce that peace is years away.

I turn my thoughts to warm summer evenings,

Long walks and trees and beaches and wonderful times.

Then I remember how you had yelled that you’d get a few of those bastards

                before they got you

And I wonder if things will ever be the same again.

Barbara Sears

Summer 1967


Writing on my helmet, the only surface I have

Chiggers embedded ‘round my sock tops and belt itch like hell

Wet socks for 3 weeks

Feet rot and smell like old cheese

At night VC rattles serpentine to scare

Marines don’t scare

Marines get even

Some in my platoon rape women bent over in rice paddies

Don’t trust children or women, definitely not men

Kool-Aid helps the taste of fetid water

Send me some?

My helmet clipped by a bullet

Jingle bells, Santa smells

VC in the grass

Take your jolly Christmas tree and shove it up…

I finally got one before he got me

Thank God for my bayonet

Missing you, counting the days

When I return to normal life.



Barbara Sears - March 12, 2013