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Enough Hugs by  Vince Kaspar

On Father’s Day near the Wall,
A young woman saw the insignia I wore and asked
“Were you with the Fourth Division?”
When I nodded, “yes,” she said,
“My father was in the Fourth.  He was killed
in 1970.
Can I give you a hug for Father’s Day?”
I hugged her with a father’s joy, though the tears
blinded me.
A little bit of healing happened for both of us
that day.
On Veteran’s Day near the Wall,
a Gold Star Mother saw the insignia I wore
and asked me, “Were you in Vietnam?”
When I nodded “yes,” she said,
“Will you stand in for my son and give
this old lady a hug?”
I hugged her with a son’s love, though the tears
blinded me.
A little bit of healing happened for both of us
that day.
 
In Canberra, at the dedication of the Australian
Vietnam Veterans Memorial,
I saw an Aussie vet standing in the crowd,
staring at the Memorial.  I knew the look –
His body shook with emotion,
the tears blinded him,
I put my arm around him and asked,
“Are you all right?”
We hugged with the warmth of brothers
and wept together.
and I took off my insignia and pinned it on him.
A little bit of healing happened for both of us
that day.
 
People ask me when the ghosts of Vietnam will
finally be put to rest.
The answer is simple – when there are
Enough open arms,
Enough open hearts,
Enough hugs to heal all the pain.