Welcome Home Our Sisters
by Kerry “Doc” Pardue
(Written to Honor the 10th Anniversary of the Women’s Memorial)
We are standing here behind the WALL on the other side of life. It has been a long time since we have seen you. We are here today to say Thank you once again. It is your time today that we stand here waving, cheering, and so proud that you came.
The time is short so some of us have been selected to say what we all feel. Thank you for caring and loving us and most of all for just being there.
My name is Mike; I was a Marine, stepped on a mine, during Operation Allenbrook. I lost both legs. You were my nurse who told me I was going home. You bathed me, kept me out of pain; you talked to me about beginning a new. It was not easy but you gave me hope. Today, I just retired; I have thought of you often… I don’t even remember your name. I remember your face… thank you for being there for me, giving me that hope.
My name is Roger; I was killed during a mortar attack, in Plieku. You worked in graves registration. You made sure all my personal effects made it home to my wife. I was there at night when you cried over all of us. I know it is hard my sister. Thanks for the prayer for my family and me. Yes, God does care and He remembers you.
My name is Tan, I was a little child in Ban Me Thout, and you cared for me and helped me. I have leprosy. I was there when they took you away in the middle of the night. I missed your singing to me. You were my missionary. My daughter has your name.
My name is Tony; my helicopter was shot down in the Plain of Reeds. I was on your burn ward. You were the Red Cross worker that wrote letters home for me. I told you that I loved you and you said all the guys said that to you. You don’t understand I still do. It was love at first sight. I didn’t mean to die in my sleep. I miss your smile.
My name is Wayne; I was killed when our base camp got over run at Bihn Phouc. I remember the times when you came to play games with us. You were our Donut Dolly. You took my mind off the war, you made me forget. I was from Indiana. I told you that you reminded me of my girlfriend.
My name is Susan, I was a nurse on Operation Baby Lift and we are still caring for the Children. Thank you for your help in getting the children out and caring for them. I tried to save them; they took two little ones out of my arms who made it. I am Thankful.
My name is Johnny, they called me “lucky” ‘cause you pointed to me to come dance with you on stage of the Bob Hope Show in Dong Tam. Thanks Ann Margaret, thanks for letting me be your leading man. I died during a firefight in the Delta with the Mobile Riverine Force. Thanks for the kiss on the cheek.
My name is Joe, and I am from Memphis. I rode on your plane coming over to the Nam. You told me it was okay to be scared and you were going to pray for all of us. You took my last letter I wrote to my mom and mailed it for me. I remember your perfume and your beautiful green eyes. I was killed by a mine that blew up my truck my first day.
My name is Sharon; I am from Ohio. I was a nurse at the 312th Evac. Mom, it’s okay. I have missed you all. Thank you for helping build the Clinic in Vietnam. The people are needy and they don’t hate us. I did the right thing and I am so proud of you. Daddy is here and he misses you so very much.
My name is Jimmy, I was a medic and taken as a POW, you were the unit clerk that typed up the letter telling my parents that I was Missing In Action and told them that all that could be done was being done. I died 12 years later in Laos. No medicine, there were others. I know you think of all of us but just know; some of us are still alive and waiting to be found. Please keep searching.
My name is Stan and I flew Tomcats. I was shot down over Hanoi. You were the Air Traffic Controller who marked my location and sent in the teams to get me out. But the NVA shot and killed me. It is not your fault—I took the risk… it was worth it.
Hello Dusty my name is David. I never got to tell you thanks for being there for me. For holding my hand and telling me I was going to be okay. Thanks for writing the letter to my mom; she told me she so appreciated it when she got up here last year. Dusty… thank you for staying with me when I passed over. It is so beautiful here. I will be there for you when it is your time to come. I will call your name and I will hold your hand. I love you.
So our sisters, one and all, you all did a job well done. Please be easy on yourselves. Do you realized how many of us you saved, do you realize how many of us still have legs and arms that should have been removed. You helped ease our pain. You took our minds off the war. Do you realize that you are the best and we appreciate all that you did we love you so very much… thank you, WELCOME HOME OUR SISTERS.
Kerry “Doc” Pardue is a Vietnam veteran who enlisted after a year of college. He served with a recon platoon with the 9th Infantry. He writes to deal with his PTSD. He lives in Arizona with his wife of 45 years.