I was at an Indian Arts Festival in Tulsa, OK on February 24, 1996 when I ran into an author named Edward Ramon. He was in full uniform, medals included, and hawking his book, "Scars and Stripes Forever". I stopped to talk with him. When I told him I was a Vietnam Vet, he stopped what he was doing, looked me in the eye, and with tears welling up in his eyes, said "Welcome Home Jerry." point1It was a full 26 years since I served in the Republic of South Vietnam and no one, including my family, had ever looked me in the eye and said that. I was stunned. I had put the war out of my mind, but, in saying that, he evoked in me emotions and feelings I had never felt before. I bought his book and left. He made me remember my brothers in combat--especially the ones who did not return. Thank you, Ramon. I had that same feeling when I surfed across your web site last night. Thanks Mark [Hendrickson]. Oh Yes, we did not serve together. You arrived in April of 1970 just after I left on March 1st of 1970 ( and that's another story). Well, anyway, I'd like to leave you with a poem from the book "Scars and Stripes Forever" by Edward Ramon.

The Point Man

"What will happen tonight?" he wondered
as he rubbed his weary eyes.
The monsoon rolled and thundered
across the fading Asian skies
"I must make ready," he shuddered,
as he checked his rifle's bore.
The last dim rays now fluttered
across the steaming jungle floor.

"You take the point," the sergeant gestured
and he nodded at this command.
"Lead us past that ancient graveyard










into that thickest bamboo stand."
That is where we'll ambush Charlie," he whispered
pointing to the distant site.
"Move quickly now and quietly," he uttered.
The pointman slipped into the coming night.

Alone, out front, he trudged ahead,
pausing briefly at a crumbling tomb.
He pondered the orders his segeant had read
and crept silently into the gloom.
Then suddenly, he froze in motion
and listened with all his might.
Had he heard a brief comotion?
Had he seen a flicker of light?
"Surely it is this wretched darkness
that has awakened my deepest fears.
I'll calm down, maintain my alertness,
and quiet this pounding in my ears."
But again he heard the muted sound.
This time there was no doubt!
Hundreds of men on higher ground,
were quickly moving about.

"What about those that follow me?
I must warn them with a cry!
I'll promt my platoon to turn and flee,
then certainly, I shall die."
Keenly, he remembered a distant place
and family that he loved so well.
He felt the tears roll on his gritty face
as he stood and began to yell.

The angels came in a flurry
to gather up his soul.
They were in no apparent hurry,
all brilliant, calm and bold.
"A pointman's chances are slim," they said,
"but they all must take the test.
Like Jesus, the blood that this one has shed,
has given life to all the rest."