Ron "Thumper" Turner
"Bandit 36"  7/70-12/70

Here's a lil' something written about going down to the wall on Memorial Day:

"Memorial Day 2003"

"As I walked down 21st street in the stillness of the morning air,
the roach coaches were closed,
the hawkers trucks locked shut,
their tables covered.

In between them,
vans in various states of disrepair,
all sporting Nam logos or draped in unit flags,
lined the street with their curtains shut tight,
their American and POW flagpoles barren.

Walking into the VVM area always brings mixed emotions.
But even as I passed the chained sidewalk dividers marked with the
obvious "caution - wet paint" signs,
I had to pause and reflect at the crest of hill before slowly and
reverently entering the valley of death.

Mother earth began to unwrap her shawl of dew from the blackness of the Wall.
It was still too dark to really see the reflections of the names.
At 0640 there were maybe 30-50 vets, wives, daughters, sons, mothers,
fathers, girlfriends, boyfriends, photographers at various places along the Wall ...
some crying silently,
others weeping openly,
all here for the same purpose....
to visit, to honor, to touch a loved one, a friend, a brother, a
sister, a son, a daughter, a father.
In my mind I keep trying to remember the verses of "The other side of
the Wall".

Every year seems the same.
Every year the pain, the love I have for people, for brothers, I barely knew in the continuum of time,
swells in my chest as I approach the apex of the Wall and face their

"Hey guys", I say as my eyes slowly weep.
I clutched the picture of those I knew in my hands,
looking at their faces,
gazing up at their names on the Wall,
reflecting on the only tie between the two ... memories.

Slowly and deliberately I laid the picture against that black Wall for others to see,
for others to reflect on,
for others to say
"God, they were so young",
saluted them,
and walked away.


May all of you, no matter where you are, no matter what you're doing, no matter how shitty we think our individual lives might be, have the best Memorial Day you can and thank who ever you believe in ... that your name isn't etched in that black Wall, that valley of death.
God luv all of you.