David Reynolds Wilson
West Point, 1966
Be Thou At Peace
Posted by Ed Wright on May 10, 2009:
Wils is long gone from our veil of tears. For two years as cadets in A-4 we shared our trials, travails and small triumphs before we graduated from the Cadet Gray of West Point into the "real world" of Army Blue/Cami's,and imminent commitment to the combat raging in Vietnam. Wils always seemed to me the unlikely warrior. He consistantly deflected unpleasantness with a self-deprecating chuckle and followed by a funny story, never in my recollection, to the expense of anyone but himself. To think of him as an infantry lieutenant in the raging combat of Tet '68 is anomalous; such a realization actually drives my thoughts to wonder about what his adversaries, the VC and NVA, thought; if in other times they might have shared a Vietnamese beer or small swig of rice wine in some tiny hamlet with Wils. Even now I cannot reconstruct their perceptions, but I would begin with Thomas Hardy's similar effort as a guide post to understanding in "The Man He Killed," but then, I might have questioned why I went to war so easily:
'HAD he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have set us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin!
'But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place.
'I shot him dead because--
Because he was my foe,
Just so: my foe of course he was;
That's clear enough; although
'He thought he'd 'list, perhaps,
Off-hand like--just as I--
Was out of work--had sold his traps--
No other reason why.
'Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You'd treat, if met where any bar is,
Or help to half a crown.'
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