Namaya - Writings, Podcast, Art & Musings.

I am the Vietnam Generation: Can we be the generation of contrition

  by Namaya 5 Jan 2020

I am the Vietnam Generation: Generation of Witness:

Can we be the Generation of Contrition?


1. Prelude:

Rage! Sing the rage

for the innocents.

Rage! Sing the rage,

and call for atonement.

As rage dissolve

to contrition

and lead us home

to love.

The Dharma is not war,

it is the journey home to love.

Dharmapada, the path to true Dharma,

to give

to surrender

to love.

2. Shroud of War: Invocation

I do not want to be called

a Baby Boomer.

I am the Vietnam generation

I am the generation

of witness and fire.

I was a hospital corpsman during the war

and though far from combat,

the war haunts

my generation and its veterans.

This war of decades ago

and the ongoing wars

of the Military-Industrial machine,

shrouds my waking hours.

Vietnam: Fire. Redemption. Love


I am the Vietnam Generation.

I hold the memory of two million

Vietnamese children, men, and women

killed during the War of Liberation.

I hold the memory

of the 58,229 dead American

and the 55,000 French soldiers killed.

Not killed for patriotism.

Not killed to save a nation.

Killed for the Military-Industrial insanity.

millions of wounded soldiers and children

maimed with bombs and Agent Orange.

How has the USA paid recompense for the

400,000 Vietnamese killed by the

poison Agent Orange?

How have we remediated

the land destroyed by bombs

and Agent Orange?


How have we paid for

these killings?


How many generations

will it take to heal this land?

Can this land every recover?


Is there a salve that can

soothe the scars of Napalm bombs?

Is there a salve that will heal the

skin of those burned with phosphorous?


How do we Americans

care for the thousands of deformed

children born today?

When will there be contrition?

How have we atoned for our deeds?

How will we atone for

My Lai and the unknown massacres?


How will we care for the people and land

destroyed by the sin and evil of war?


While the chairman of Dow Chemical

Carl A. Gerstacker

played golf on immaculate green lawns.


While Dow Chemical’s Napalm

incinerated Vietnam

and burned people alive.


While Monsanto gained fortunes for

its stockholders with the poison Agent Orange.


While the war profiteers made their

poisons and guns to destroy Vietnam,

and heralded the greatness of the USA.


While Nixon scuttled a peace deal in 1968

so he could get elected.

While McNamara formulated the calculus of war.

While Johnson, Kennedy, Kissinger and all stoked the machine

of war. They were the architects of monumental hubris.


While those ensconced in draft deferments,

protested the war.

While the poor and working-class soldiers

were sucked into the vortex of conscription.


I want to hold the hundreds of thousands

of wounded and homeless veterans.

These same veterans now huddled in

the streets shivering cold throughout the USA.


I don’t want us known as

The Woodstock generation

Of the ephemera of peace and love.

I want us to hold in our bones

the imperative of peace and contrition.


Do we have the courage to bend

down on our knees in



3.  Noble Saints of Peace


And to you the noble saints of peace,

who came to Vietnam and cared for the children.

To the warriors of the higher conscience,

who refused to march off to war.

To the soldiers who returned and now

are working for justice in Vietnam.

To those who chose prison over war.

To those who fled family and home to protest.

The courageous monks were driven mad with pain,

burned themselves alive to protest war.

The students at Kent State shot dead by

soldiers while they protested against war.

Your acts of resistance and love

shines through the dark with fearless courage.

4.  Witness: Cambodia

This year, I journeyed to Cambodia,

where the genocide and killing fields

were fostered by the American war machine.

Twenty-five percent of

Cambodians killed.

The soul of a nation

shredded by genocide.

Children born after

the Americans went safely  home

are still maimed and killed by landmines.

Children in wheel-chairs are begging.

Eyes famished for hope and ask us,

“Please, help.”


Where is our contrition?

How is their forgiveness?

Where is our mercy and justice?


The killing fields and landmines

are underfoot as I walk through the Mekong.

Some paths have been cleared, but

much of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam

are littered with landmines and Agent Orange.

Landmines dropped by American war planes

in a rain of evil, blacker than evil itself.

Where is the shame

That should burn in our soul?

Where is the repentance?

Where is the contrition?

How have we healed the wounds?

Where is our courage to end war?

5,  Laos

 Beautiful innocent Laos. Nestled

in the mountains, ancient Buddhist land,

now infested with land mines that

destroy and maim children decades after the war.


More bombs were dropped on Laos

than in all of WWII.


Today, I walk through the fields.

Our guides point us to the right

path, but there are no signs, no guideposts

to the landmines strewn by the Americans.


The US Military indiscriminately

bombed and poisoned

Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.


Today, I meet children at the hospital, their legs

destroyed, some with faces shattered, their

bodies and souls nearly destroyed from

cluster bombs dropped near fifty years ago.

How do we begin contrition?
How are we humbled and shamed by our deeds?

When will we bend to our knees

to ask forgiveness?


6.  The US Military Industrial Machine


We, the Vietnam generation,

have we grown complacent

waddling to retirement

and investing in the war machine?


Panama, Grenada, Iraq, Yemen,

Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the

necklace of our war machine

is made from the skulls of children.


We have raped, ravaged and

looted countries around the globe.


Our trillion dollar platinum plated

war machine is lacquered with

the blood and bones of its victims.


When will we fight the real war?


The war against poverty?

Our war to save the environment?

When we will

end the desire for war?


We, the Woodstock generation,

born in the shadows and fire of war.

We saw the nightly news

with the daily tallies of death,

while our brothers and kin

we’re sent over for a war of lies.

What of the greater love?






I don’t want to be called

the baby boomer

or Woodstock generation.

I am the Vietnam generation.


Dwight Eisenhower said,

we are crucified on a cross of iron.

He warned of the Military-Industrial machine:

Yet, he fostered the war in Vietnam.


7.  Tune in!


Tune in!

Turn on!

Drop out!


My soul is no longer on ice.


I burn with the shame

Of our wars!

I burn with the shame

Of our deeds.

Our shame should burn as bright

as the phosphorous bombs

that we dropped in Vietnam


I burn with the rage

of the youth of all races

consigned to poverty in the USA.

Of the twenty-five percent

of our elderly who are impoverished.

The homeless who are the prophets

of our broken society.


I burn with rage!

I burn with this shame!


I don’t want to be

remembered for the delusions

of pot and drugs, turn on,

tune in, drop out, and the fog

of forgetting.


I need us to be the

generation of remembering.


The generation

of witness and contrition.


We were born in the fire of

Nagasaki and Hiroshima, in the ashes of

the Korean War and the inextricable

nightmare of Vietnam.



8.  Dharmapada – the path to contrition


Can we be the generation

of redemption and contrition?


A generations of true peace

or have our retirement portfolios

grown too fat from the profits of war?


I don’t want to be called

a baby boomer.

I am the Vietnam generation.


I am the generation

of Witness.


How will our actions of

atonement and justice


render healing?


How will we be

the generation of contrition?


2Jan 2020  p.s. after more than 3 years of writing this, it is time to send it out. I send it out in HoChi Minh City Vietnam. Yesterday, visiting the War remnants Museum and seeing the exhibits on US soldiers who resisted the war and became conscientious objectors

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