We heard about you on the radio,© Written by Sarah Leah Blum, May 1984. Operating room nurse, 12th Evacuation Hospital. Cu Chi, Vietnam, 1967.
We saw you on the TV.
We knew you were hurting so,
We went to the Nam Country.
We took you as you came,
We felt the mud and dirt.
We knew we would go insane,
We knew we couldn’t stop the hurt.
We tore off your fatigues and boots,
We searched your parts and your holes.
We saw your limbs torn off like roots,
We suffered with you, for all our souls.
We stood for hours in your lost blood.
We screamed inside at those awful sights.
We cursed and raged and slid in the mud.
We knew the results of your frustrated fights.
We held your hand and said to hang in,
We prayed in silence for your sweet life.
We knew full well our country’s sin,
We hoped in vain for an end to the strife.
We went to be with you and help you too,
We weren’t prepared and neither were you.
We couldn’t believe what we all went through,
We worked to heal but who ever knew?
We pumped the blood and helped you sleep.
We changed your dressings and cut the pain.
We turned you over and scrubbed your feet.
We talked and listened and went insane.
We couldn’t cry or we couldn’t work,
We tried to be calm to do our job.
We never knew where the enemy lurked,
We daren’t let out, even one sob.
We sorted you one from another,
We chose – if you live or die.
We struggled so much for you our brother,
We knew in our hearts we needed to cry.
We were there inside the operating room.
We cleaned your wounds, we put you to sleep.
We cut and sawed from noon til noon.
We swallowed and choked and sighed so deep.
We saw you at your very best, proud and smart.
We saw you at your worst, torn and wounded,
We held your maimed and mangled parts,
We lifted, pulled, pushed and turned your head.
We yelled for supplies that we didn’t have,
We cringed when we read the media lies.
We held our breath as we applied the salve,
We wondered when America would open her eyes.
We hated the mud and rain and dust.
We hated the protests and lack of support.
We drank and danced and how we cussed.
We hoped and prayed for the war to be “short.”
We wondered how you did perceive us,
We worried how well we were really doing.
We came to help, to heal and not fuss.
We couldn’t control the ugly war we were viewing.
We felt angry, enraged, sad and sick inside.
We wanted to protect you from anything more.
We didn’t understand and we wanted to hide.
We couldn’t leave you, we were all in a war.
We were frustrated and mad at all the news.
We hoped in vain for the telling of the truth.
We found some solace in beer and Omoody blues,
We took pictures of war to record the truth.
We didn’t all make it, and neither did you.
We became numbers, counts and stats!
We were killed and lost, and wondered who knew?
We were people but were counted like rats!
We came home in the dark, broken or boxed.
We were the shame of this Country we served.
We were attacked or shunned like we were poxed,
We whores and dykes, names so undeserved.
We loved America and you dear sweet brothers,
We were nurses true blue and oh so few.
We cared, we suffered Nam sisters and brothers,
We want you to know – we did it all for you!
In remembrance of so many of us, nurses, and what we experienced.
Dedicated to so many of you soldiers of an unwanted war.
We Did It All For You – by Sarah Leah Blum