Doug Todd

Doug Todd was born in 1943 on a farm in Randolph County, Arkansas. Doug enlisted in the Marines in 1963 and was selected for sea school. He joined a Nuclear Security Detachment aboard the USS Constellation (CVA-64) and after two years, he transferred to “WestPac Ground Forces” in Okinawa and arrived in Viet Nam in early 1966. He served as Fire-Team Leader and then Squad Leader with an infantry unit until he was medevaced back to a hospital in CA. Doug is the author of a book of poetry inspired by his experiences and those of others in Vietnam. The book “AFTERMATH: A SONG FOR TYRON” is available from Amazon, Barnes & and other bookstores.

American Hero

(Dedicated To Veterans of WWII)

He never wanted to be a hero
when he answered his country's call.
He hadn't really thought about it much ...
He was just doing his duty ... that's all.
He knew he wasn't made of "Hero Stuff" ...
He was just a regular kid;
And, he wouldn't have thought 'til the day it happened
That he could do those things he did.

But ... he was raised to believe that, to be a man,
you just did what you had to do ...
and, if the job was tough, well ... you just buckled
Down ... stayed with it and saw it through!
So, he picked up a rifle and went off to places
with names that he couldn't say;
And he learned to sleep in the mud at night ...
after fighting in the rain, all day.
He baked in the sun and he froze in the snow ...
and the loneliness broke his heart;
And, he would much rather have just gone home ...
but, he stayed and he did his part.
He shivered, with his friends, on that awful day
as the sun came up, blood red ...

And wondered, as they waited for the battle to start,
which of them soon would be dead?
He was just as scared as you would have been
if you were standing right where he stood ...
But, he fought back the fear and followed orders ...
He did what he had to ... or did what he could.

He saw things and did things he can't talk about
without re-living the pain.
Sometimes he thought that he just couldn't take it ...
he was afraid he would go insane.
He knew you were supposed to be brave in war,
But, most of the time, he was scared.
He watched friends die ... and he wondered why
They were taken, and he was spared.
It seemed the war would go on forever,
but, somehow, he made it through,
Because, he just kept taking one day at a time
and doing what he had to do.

He still didn't feel like a hero
When he finally came home to stay;
He just got a job and went to work ...
His memories and his medals he locked away.
If you ask about it, he may reply,
"Oh ... all that happened a long time ago ..."
But ... when the night is too still and he can't sleep ...
It doesn't feel that long ... I know!
He still says he was "Just a citizen ..."
Just doing his duty ... that's all.
He may be old and bent ... but, when The Colors come by ...
You'll see him standing straight and tall!
Then ... if there's a look in his eye
Like he's watching things that, maybe you can't see ...
He's remembering those things he won't talk about ...
And, he knows why that flag flies free!

We should be proud of the history of our great land,
and thank God for the Red, White and Blue ...
But ... the hero of the story is that common man ...
Who just did what he had to do!


Once upon a lifetime ago,
in a place no one wanted to go;
on a hillside in Hell ... we were not doing well ...
it's a common old story, I know.
Halfway to the top ... all the way to a stop,
we couldn't fall back or move on ahead;
So many were hurtin' and I was quite certain
if we didn't break out, we'd be dead.
Well, I needed someone for a dangerous run ...
it was a risk that we all understood;
when a friend caught my eye and he wanted to try ...
he could make it ... if anyone could!
He didn't have to be prodded ...
I just looked up and nodded ...
and he charged into Hell on his own!
But ... the mortars fell 'round him
'til one of them found him ...
sometimes I remember Tyrone.
Sometimes, I remember Tyrone;
I wish you could remember him too!
Rock solid and steady he stood always ready
to do the job he had to do.
Sometimes when I freak out and "flash-back" I sneak out
and just take a walk on my own,
and, when I find a quiet place that feels like the right place ...
I stop and remember Tyrone.

Do you remember Tyrone?
You should remember Tyrone!
You remember watts burning and a page we were turning
' til Doctor King fell by the way ...
but, what of a young man who made a brave last stand
on a hill half-a-lifetime away?
You remember Black Power and the day and the hour
that Camelot fell like a stone ...
you remember some hippies and pot-heads and yippies ...
but, do you remember Tyrone?

There was a vision abroad in the land
of a shining New Age right at hand;
Freedom's banner unfurled in a grateful third world
by America's bountiful hand!
"Ask not what your country can do ......
but, step forward now and stand tall
and take up the fight for Freedom and Right!"
And, some of us answered that call.
Politicians schemed it,
but, Tyrone fought for and dreamed it
and, it's a shame that his name is unknown!
Maybe we shouldn't give up 'til we've tried to live up
to some promises we made Tyrone!

Do you remember Tyrone?
We all should remember Tyrone!

Tyrone fought a good fight; he died in a hard fight
but, he fought there of his own free will;
for a land that he loved and a people he trusted ...
(I wonder if he'd trust us still?).
Was the promise we made him
just the grave where we laid him
and some words that we carved on a stone?
Or was there something greater that should have come later?
What do you think that we owe Tyrone?

Do you remember Tyrone?
God knows I remember Tyrone!!
You remember Watts burning
and a page we were turning
'til Doctor King fell by the way ...
But, what of a young man
who made a brave last stand
on a hill half-a-lifetime away?
You remember Black Power
and the day and the hour
that Camelot fell like a stone ...
you remember some hippies,
draft-dodgers and yippies ...
but, do you remember Tyrone?

A Shot in The Dark

His body trembles against me,
Iron fingers clutch my shirt ...
(Waking suddenly in a sweat,
I feel them twisting there)
The back of his head missing ...
A hole in his chest ...
Gray lips whisper,
"Tell Mama ... tell Mama ...!"
Tell Mama what?
... The gray lips never said

Aftermath: “THE ANSWER”

(For Marjorie who waited for it.)

If a man had life to live over again ...
So often it's put that way;
If a man had life to live over again ...
But, couldn't change a single day;
Would a man be willing to walk again,
where he walked so long before?
Would he feel the pain, again and again,
and live it all over, once more?
...If I had life to live over again
and they told me straight and true
that I couldn't change it and they made it plain ...
if they asked what I wanted to do ...
Would I go again to that soggy plain
where death reigned night and day?
If I had to just die ... or go back and try;
If they asked me, what would I say?
Would it be worthwhile to fight that mile
to take the wrong hill again?
To see the suffering, the fire and the fear,
and the smoke and the death and the pain?

After the places I've been;
After the things I've done;
After pale death in the dawn-light;
After the knife and the gun;
Now that I've considered the question ...
Now that I've worried it through ...
Now that the fight is over,
... I'd say yes, and I'd do it too!
Because, after it all was over ...
After all ... there was you.