Association des Anciens Appelés en Algérie et leurs Ami(e)s Contre la Guerre

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Coming Home

Tuesday 9 August 2011, by Webmestre , François Nutchey

Very beautiful poem sent by our american friend Willie Hager

Coming home from war; the hard part.


Ed Note: I met Joe Wheeler, Warrior Writer and a Veteran who was deployed during the first year (OIF I) of the Iraq war, with the 240th Forward Surgical Team and attached to the Fourth Infantry Division as a surgical assistant, while at the recent VFP 2011 National Convention. After returning home from the convention, I saw a Facebook posting of a poem by Joe entitled, “Coming home”. When I read it, I experienced an emotional deja vu flash to an interview that I did with Waldo Salt, screenwriter for the movie Coming Home, back in the mid 70s, when he asked me what was the hardest thing about Vietnam for me, and I replied, “Coming home…”. Joe, with this powerful work, has given my meaning in that statement of mine, from so long ago, new life for a new time, about the now very old problem of Veterans’ having difficulties “re-adjusting” in war weary society, once they return home from the horrors of war and multiple deployments. Here is how he tells it, in his own words…WH

Coming home
by Joe Wheeler
Iraq was horrific.
The intense searing heat
that suffocated…
Being shot at.
Hearing the mortar rounds
fired at us.
The waiting for the mortar
rounds to land on me or
one of my fellow soldiers.
The incoming wounded
shot in the face.
The war broke my heart.
The war broke me.
What was worse
was coming home
to a little girl
who did not know me.
Naively, I expected open
arms but to her I was
the enemy.
I was the intruder.
I was waging war
on her way of life.

This piece by Joe Wheeler was originally posted on Facebook on Monday, August 8, 2011 at 6:54pm

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