"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Thursday, May 10, 2018

In Remembrance of Hamburger Hill: by Michael Lansford

“CJ, please post this like you do on your Blog.  I only hope I honored them well.

Sometimes as I write, I get to thinking I could use better wording, but I write what I feel and it wouldn't be the same any other way.

This is the most difficult time of my life every year and it seems to affect me more and more. If people only knew how hard it was up there and they knew the guys, maybe they would see our world differently and know real American Heroes did serve in our war.   
We paid a costly price for that piece of ground and, right or wrong, we stood up for what we believed in --each other and our country. 
Thanks again for doing this.
Michael Lansford”

For Michael Lansford, in honor of his service on Hill 937, “Hamburger Hill”, May 10 to May 20, 1969.  ~CJ Heck

Michael (Surfer) Lansford
On this day, I pay my respects to comrades who fought, died, and survived Hill 937 --or as it was better known, "Hamburger Hill", 10 May 1969 -- 20 May 1969.

 Reflections and Remembrances:

We Vietnam vets have come far, some much farther than others, yet we’ve traveled many of the same journeys and paths.

I wonder myself as I reflect and remember. What could we have been in our lives? What might we have become? How have we turned out? Did those of us who survived make a difference in our world?

What if the ones we lost had survived? How different might the world have been for so many more? There are so many questions and so few answers.

There were battles won, yet lost --in the end, no one wins battles, or wars. We just survived. The sign at the top of the hill asks, "Was it worth it?" I ponder that question to this day.  We will never truly know the answer. 

Those of us who were there have strong opinions about all of it, but through time, those opinions only fall on deaf ears. We are almost forgotten, except WE remember and we always will in our own ways.

A lot of lives paid for that hill. They gave their lives for it and for us, too, for reasons no one will truly understand --it’s hard to explain the change that comes over you in combat when fellow comrades are being killed.

Each of us had different feelings, yet there was always one common goal. Survive and save as many as you could. That's all we could do. We fought on, knowing the outcome looked bleak, with fear so strong we were numb to it, so we fought even harder --all to an end that had no end.

A noted author once wrote about our war, "Some lived, some died, some lived to tell the story." We lived it for ten brutal days and nights, never knowing which one of those we would end up being. In many ways, we will continue to live all of this, no matter what. It never leaves us, ever.

It was always said, "You can leave the Nam, but the Nam will never leave you." They were right. No one ever really comes home. There’s always something somewhere that takes us back, like it or not. It will only end when we pass through the wall and there are no Vietnam vets left, because we are all together again on the other side.

I wonder what an old vet thinks as he sits up on a knoll looking across at The Wall, alone and scared, his wise eyes staring into the past. Can we even imagine what he is thinking, feeling, and knowing? If we could look in his eyes, we would know. From that distance, he can't read the names, but he doesn't have to read them.  He can still see their faces, because he will never forget them.

So I end this page of my journey with a promise I made.  I will never forget my comrades from Hill 937. For forty-nine years, I have kept my word, and my journey continues. I hope in their eyes I have lived up to my promise.

To this day, I am humbled and honored to have been with them through the good and the bad. I will never forget.  Promise made.  Promise kept.

God bless and God speed,
Michael (Surfer) Lansford

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale