Red Cross

   emily
  donut dollie

Red Cross

WOMEN'S MEMORIAL

He lies unseeing and seemingly unconscious cradled in her arms
as she supports his broad shoulders and touches his chest
(even now her regulation hair bunned high above her collar)
She is a professional, hardened against the horrors of war
He is merely the present in an endless line of past and future

Yet 
perhaps because she knows his eyes are blind
she has momentarily allowed her face to mirror her emotions
her eyes to reveal her heart
let slip the reality that she sees not only the wounds
but the wounded

Her skilled hands will treat the damage systematically
she will be methodical in her approach
But the shutter of her camera eyes
has allowed the scenes to seep into her heart
too many images indelibly engraved
of useless limbs in buckets of blood
and once handsome boys now faceless

She will never betray to him
as she goes efficiently about her work
that his pain is her agony
that a part of her will die with him
Her credentials manifest her mission to heal
There is no time to tend her own wounded heart

Clutching her arm in an unspoken bond
stands a strong, powerful woman appearing invincibly tall 
back arched, shoulders braced against the yet unknown but understood
Her baseball cap back on her head 
open mouth deeply inhaling
pounding heart pumping the rushing adrenaline

Her posture portrays a self confidence 
bought at the price of understanding fate
Her determination paid for 
by knowledge of the consequences of hesitation

Eyes wide, unblinking, intensely searching heavenward
she waits expectantly as she steels her emotions
her indomitable spirit preparing for the inevitable

She will not fail her brothers
She will prevail in her mission
And she will feel nothing save her sense of duty

Almost hidden 
by the protective sandbags
kneels a lone figure, isolated
neither touching nor touched by anyone 
Staring down at the useless helmet 
held loosely in her hand
her bowed head hiding her anguish 
from those who wish only to stand and stare
boony hat pulled low over her eyes 
so no one may see the tears 
which might surreptitiously stain her cheeks

Her slender, stooped shoulders 
can no longer bear the weight of the war 
the memory of the suffering
neither theirs nor hers 

That bunker she had built around her heart
sandbag by sandbag, with each wound and death 
is beginning to crumble
It can no longer hold back 
the shrapnel of grief and sorrow exploding within her
She is no longer the strong care giver
but now fragile and alone in her sadness
Knowing that she relieved the pain of others 
does not help to ease her own pain now
always questioning whether she did enough

To fully fathom the depths of her torment 
you must get very close, kneel down 
and look deeply into her hidden eyes 
the reflectors of her pain
Lightly brush her cheek
tenderly hold her hand
patiently listen to the screaming of her heart
the whispers of her soul
and gently let fall
your own tears
with her
for her

And finally,
you must stand
step back
and contemplate the whole
to perceive
that these three sisters are one
A circle portrayed by individual snapshots in time
of a past which ultimately bonds forever
we who served
the caring, brave and sometimes fragile women of war

©1999

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See also, Emily's other spot in cyberspace:
An American Red Cross Donut Dollie with the 9th Infantry Division and Mobile Riverine Force in VIETNAM

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Bullet Women in Vietnam Bullet Many Women Served Bullet Red Cross
Bullet Military Nurses Bullet In Memoriam Bullet Get Back in Touch
Bullet Bibliographies Bullet Locater Service/Remarks Bullet Free Monthly Newsletter
Bullet Videos/Stuff to Buy Bullet Books Bullet Health Stuff
Bullet Photo Tours   Bullet Help for Students

My Vietnam Related Websites:
button Women in Vietnam ~ Read about ALL the women who served . . .
button Dusty's Home Page ~ Poetry and prose by a woman who was a nurse in Vietnam
The Irish on the Wall ~ An effort to locate the Irish who died in Vietnam
button Tim O'Brien's Home Page ~ National Book Award Winner and Americal Vet

button Emily's Poetry ~ By a Red Cross Donut Dolly
button Shrapnel in the Heart ~ The most moving book you will read on Vietnam
button All About Vietnam    ~ An annotated bibliography of books about Vietnam for sale thru Amazon Worldwide!
button Battle Dressing ~ The Journey of a Nurse in Vietnam
button Project Hearts and Minds ~ Help put Viet Nam back together
button Photos from a Holts' Military History Tour ~ My trip to Vietnam, February 1998

My Other Websites:
Maybe Later . . . ~ My Creative Nonfiction
Irish in Korea ~ Irish men and women who gave their lives in the Korean War
Literature of the Korean War ~ Don't let the literature be forgotten
Samuel Pepys ~ One of my favorite authors
Chicago Theatre Z - A ~ This is the best theater town in the country!
Soccer Literature ~ I'm a fan and I read
O'Leary Lantern ~ Fire! Fire! Fire!
Gil Thorp ~ THE Coach (apologies to The General!)
Poetry of the First World War ~ Owen, Hardy and others
Chi-COW-go ~ Cowz plus Commentary (this used to be a cow town)
Graham Fulton, Scottish Poet ~ Charles Manson Auditions for the Monkees

Other Important Websites:
The Truth About Caroline ~ a  really good Young Adult book by my niece, Stacey M. Lane Grosh
Remember Oklahoma City ~  The Civil Service and Military will NEVER forget!

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Page last updated August 17, 2004