In Memory Of Friends

by MaxReily

A recent class reunion reminded me of friends and classmates lost in the Vietnam War. This is an introduction and poem written in tribute to them.

We Haven't Forgotten

A Tribute To Friends Who Lost Their Lives In Vietnam

Our high school class reunion was held a couple of weeks ago--It was the 45 year reunion for the Class of 1966. Due to a conflict of scheduling, I couldn't attend; but I did get to see a lot of photos and read a lot of memories online from that night and from our high school days.

Seeing and hearing from old classmates that we haven't seen for years is always nice. But it also brings back memories of the ones we'll never see again. After a number of years, every high school class will have lost some of its members; but The Vietnam War took a heavy toll on my high school class and on other graduating classes in the '60s. So many of those who came home were never the same. Traumatized beyond repair, they weren't able to adjust to life back home again. Others came home physically disabled. Some didn't come home at all.

Many of us who went to high school in the 60s lost friends, boyfriends, or brothers. Some even lost more than one. My poem. "Forever Nineteen" is a tribute to the ones we lost and whom we still love and miss.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, D.C.
By UpstateNYer (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Forever Nineteen

Boys of the 60s,

They called and you went

Without understanding

Just why you were sent.

Curly-haired sons of mothers who wept.

Lovers of high school sweethearts who kept

Your pictures under their pillows,

Your high-school rings on their fingers.

And cried themselves to sleep.


Boys of the 60s

They called and you went.

Not knowing how cheaply

Your lives would be spent.

Proud football heroes, and boys with cool cars.

Believing the gospel of guys with guitars

That you heard on FM car radios

Or listened to up in your room,

Before you went to sleep.


Boys of the 60s

We learned that nineteen

Was the average age

Of the soldiers we'd seen.

Homeward bound, flag-draped, though mothers had prayed .

Girls who were waiting for vows never made,

Would somehow go on now without you.

Would grow up and go on without you,

Still crying themselves to sleep


Boys of the 60s

Forever nineteen.

Too precious to fuel

War's voracious machine.

Your journey was short, but memory is long.

And there you live on, still young, still strong.

Your fate not to grow old beside us,

Your fate to be forever nineteen,

The day you went to sleep.


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John Lennon Anti-War Poster

John Lennon - War Is Over
Updated: 08/30/2011, MaxReily
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MaxReily on 08/30/2011

Thanks so much. One of the nicest, finest boys I ever knew, and who was a neighbor died in terrible circumstances even for Vietnam, and I don't think his high school friends have ever stopped grieving, even after all these years.

ohcaroline on 08/30/2011

Beautiful tribute to those lost in Vietnam. I've had the same thoughts when my high school reunions have come and I see the list of those we lost. It really tugs your heart strings.

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