It’s not easy when the demons get loose – the ones you’ve kept locked away in the dark recesses of your mind. For me it happened big time during the first few hours of Desert Storm. I didn’t know what was going on – after all, I’d buried Vietnam in my psyche. I never talked about it. I didn’t know another Vietnam Vet. When I heard of one losing it, I told myself it was a cop out.
If Desert Shield hadn’t become Desert Storm, I’d have probably lived the rest of my life with my demons tucked away in the basement. But it did.
My answer was to organize a group of Vietnam Vets in Fort Payne, Alabama. We called ourselves Vietnam Veterans Southern Command. You can read more about the group here.
A few months after Vietnam Veterans Southern Command was born, I was watching Johnny Carson, reading a book, and thinking about an upcoming speaking engagement in California. None of those things had my full attention until Lacy J. Dalton began singing, Little Boy Blue, a song she wrote for her son.
When I heard the line, “No matter what comes down, I’ll always love you,” I cried – actually, I bawled.
I downloaded a copy of the song and played it for the guys at The Bunker – Vietnam Veterans Southern Command’s meeting place. They bawled too. It was sort of funny watching a room full of vets crying, and trying not to look at each other.
When we got it back together a bit, George Jackson, a charter member, said, “You know, that should be our song.”
We all agreed and I sent Lacy J. Dalton a letter. I told her about us, and how we all cried when we listened to Little Boy Blue.
Three days later, I got a special delivery package from her. Inside were autographed pictures for each of us and a letter. In the letter, she said that her son was grown now, and he knew how she felt about him, and she would be real pleased to give us the song if we’d like to make it our song.
Give a listen to Little Boy Blue, and you’ll see why we all cried again when we read the letter.