Veteran Dreams

JPat Branch in Vietnam

By Davalynn Spencer @davalynnspencer

When I taught sixth-grade world history, I grew accustomed to adolescent boys who dreamed of becoming soldiers and warriors like the ancient kings they studied.

Later, when I taught English composition at the college, several of my students were young marines who bore unseen scars of battles less glamorous than those portrayed in middle-school history books.

Honed and hardened by superior officers and surreal experiences, they sat politely in plastic chairs and let me tell them how to write cohesive paragraphs for persuasive essays.

Most of those young men had grown up faster than they wanted. They’d fought to right the wrongs of others and, like their fathers, prevent the encroachment of tyrants who would rule the world at any cost.

I’ve always been proud of these boys-turned-men who listened to me drill the rules of punctuation. They were gentlemen, every one, hiding behind their attentive eyes what they’d seen in places I’d only heard of.

Often, their dreams leaked from their fingers, nightmares on the page, giving me a glimpse of the horrors, reminding me that veterans are not only the men and women of my parents’ generation or my own.

Now those veterans are my children, and they will someday be my grandchildren, fighting to protect those who cannot defend themselves.

May their dreams be restful, their battles quickly ended, their valor rewarded by peace.

God bless them every one.

There is no greater love than
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:13 NLT


God bless them every one. Click To Tweet

*Image: “We took 32 hits but the Lord spared us. We did a mayday hard landing back at Khe Sanh [Vietnam].” J Pat Branch, April 1971, in 48th AHC, B model Huey gunship north of Dong Ha. Photo courtesy J Pat Branch.

ALT="cowboy boot with sunflowers"

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(c) 2019 Davalynn Spencer, all rights reserved.

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10 thoughts on “Veteran Dreams

  1. Barbara Raymond

    This is heartbreaking. Everyone of our military heros are in my thoughts and prayers.

    1. davalynn

      Thank you, Barbara. I suspect they truly appreciate it.

  2. Lori Smanski

    This is a wonderful post for remembering and reminding. Thank you.

    1. davalynn

      Thank you for reading – and appreciating – Lori.

  3. Sharon Sparks

    A very beautiful tribute, Davalynn.

    1. davalynn

      Thank you, Sharon.

  4. Experience can be a brutal taskmaster. Thank you for adding punctuation to a multilayered story.

    1. davalynn

      Interesting perspective on it, Marjorie. Thank you so much.

  5. Karen Gee

    Those of us who have never served in the military have no idea what these valiant people have gone through when facing an enemy that wants nothing more but to kill them.
    God bless and keep each one. And May loved ones show understanding and love.
    Pray for those brave soldiers, serving currently and veterans that are living with what they endured.

    1. davalynn

      Absolutely, Karen. Thank you for your encouraging words.


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