This is called "Mark #2" - Mark has a story, and it was told through me...and I've got all the words I wrote for him somewhere in a large binder (I know where it is...) and I should really post all this stuff, as it's important in many ways.
Mark came to me in 1993 (I think), and I wrote many short pieces from him...he was a Vet in Vietnam who died there; the writing showed he was from the IL/WI area (forget which, exactly) and towards the end, I got his full name.
In 1995, my (then) partner looked him up on the Vietnam Wall Memorial list...he was there - and I found out he was from that area of the country (the opposite of the one he wrote as) - and that he died about a year before I was born. Damn...that hit me pretty hard.
I don't hear much from Mark anymore - I think I got his story mostly out, but in 1999 he gave me a little more, just to remind me that he's still with me, always:
"and if anyone shall ever forget what it meant to send their men to war, if anyone shall ever forget what it meant to leave their mothers, wives, children and parents alone, waiting by the phone, by the t.v. for some glimpse of possible returned death - for some hollow face to wave back at the cameras...wondering if your son would come back in a body bag...if anyone shall ever forget these erroneous ways of the world, these horrid manslaughter ideas that spouted upon the refuge of idealism that we turned upon ourselves with loaded guns - bullets flying - death mounting...if anyone shall ever forget let it be me, let it be my sacrificed ghost that walks upon the graveyards...like so many others, let it be me, please let it be me who forgets, the one who died, the one who's gone...the one who's writing."
6/16/99 – Mark…
I do think I'll work on adding in his pieces to this blog, as they are truly impressive to read - even to me, to this day, they're haunting. I took these pieces to a Vet who I befriended at a trade show I was working one day in Portland - as he asked about them once we started talking about his tours of duty in the war, and my writing this "piece" about a Vet. He brought them back the next day, and said he had never read anything like this from someone who wasn't there, who didn't live the war - that it was not just impressive, but amazing. I hope, if he's still alive, that he still has that memory, as I do. To a writer, this is the best form of flattery - but, to someone who has been given the gift of telling a story from the past, it's more than that...it's acknowledgment for us both.