Sgt. Mack

My Friends on the Wall

I was in my late 50's when I came back from Nam
my son only remembered me from a picture
he was 3 years old.

Every night when I lay down to sleep
you can bet before morning breaks
I will have had my war played over,
over and over again.

To wake up choking your wife
because you think she is the enemy,
to wake up sometimes hiding in the corner
'cause you are out on a night stake out,
try walking down a street and a loud noise
causes you to scream out In Coming!
and many more memories I don't care to discuss
'cause I try not believe them myself.

You can be mad at all of us
for going over to help your country,
but while you're getting mad think of this:
the only ones of us that sleep good at night
are written on the Black Marble Wall in Washington,
and we, like all the other Vets
going back to our beginnings at Valley Forge,
cannot forget what we have seen.

You cry because your father lost the hearing in one ear.
Hell, I can hardly walk, but every morning
I get up to the sunrise
drink a cup of coffee
and say a prayer for my friends on the wall.

Yes, I am grateful to be alive
no matter of the pain
or my endless nightmares of war.



"My Friends on the Wall" was originally a letter written by "Sgt. Mack" to a Hmong girl born and living in the United States who expressed discontent over her people being lied to and being displaced from their country. Attempts have been made to locate the author of the letter, but to no avail. Anyone knowing the identity of this most poignant piece please contact the webmaster. (Replace [AT] with @ in pop-up email.)

The letter appeared on E. Kenneth Hoffman's Viet Nam website. Thanks go to him for permission to reuse the material. Please visit his site at:

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