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Major Michael Davis O’Donnell was from Springfield Illinois. Born 13 August 1945.

He wrote this poem in January 1970 during his tour in Viet Nam:


If you are able,
save them a place
inside of you
and save one backward glance
when you are leaving
for the places they can
no longer go.
Be not ashamed to say
you loved them,
though you may
or may not have always.
Take what they have left
and what they have taught you
with their dying
and keep it with your own.
And in that time
when men decide and feel safe
to call the war insane,
take one moment to embrace
those gentle heroes
you left behind.


Major O’Donnell was killed in action in Laos in March 1970.

His memorial is on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Panel 12W Line 040.

Submitted by Anonymous

Featured photo by Ryan Stone on Unsplash