21

I ought to be excited, I turned 21 today,
But I'm not, you see, I'm in a place very far away.
Instead of being with all my friends in a local bar,
I am with new friends, in the Vietnam war.

No one to say "Hey, happy birthday son",
Instead all I hear is, Hey man, shoot your gun?.
We are flying into a very hot, small LZ,
And Charlie is waiting for your celebration, don't you see.

Many a young man is celebrating 21 today,
Some are at home, and some are here, very far away.
But, none at home will remember exactly what they did,
Like those of us who were standing on a Huey's skid.

There was lots of yelling, but it wasn't a cheer,
It was many young men who were living and dying in fear.
It wasn't the fear of dying, that's the easy part,
The fear of losing your buddy, it just breaks your heart.

No, turning 21 just is not the same over here,
When almost everyday, you live in dreaded fear.
I would give anything, if I didn't have to see,
So many young men, who are dying in front of me.

Some of these men will never see 21,
Most are just kids, who should be having fun.
They are doing their best just to live their life,
And protect their buddy in this horrible strife.

Well this birthday is finally over, here in Vietnam,
I saw many a young boy who would never be a man.
They won't get past 18 or 19 years of age,
Not in this place of hate and heated rage.

Tomorrow will come, yes another day,
What will we face, who can say?
One thing is sure, because if you can,
You go to Vietnam a boy and come home a man.

© Keith Bodine 1999
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