Saturday, May 16, 2009

Offerings



How many American soldiers
Died in this land?
How many Vietnamese
Lie buried under trees and grass?
Now the wineglass joins friends in peace.
The old men lift their glasses.
Tears run down their cheeks.

--Written by Van Le, former Vietcong guerrilla, for American journalist Morley Safer
January 1989, Ho Chi Minh City


I wasn't the only person who took roses to Maya Lin's wall today. I was not the only one touching the wall, eyes closed. I wasn't the only person in a contemplative state.

In fact I have never felt so at ease, or nearly as welcome, as I did today at the Vietnam Memorial. The holiday to remember the veterans is next week, so people are leaving flowers, notes, and tributes at the wall. The energy is heightened. As opposed to other memorials where this kind of emotional outpouring is discouraged, at the Vietnam Memorial, ritualized grieving is actually appropriate. The feeling there today reminded me of the AIDS quilt. It was so moving!



A man tapped me on the shoulder while I was putting Reiki into the black granite. It startled me, but his face was so kind. He asked if I wanted to have my picture taken. Afterwards I said thank you and he said, "You're welcome. Bless you." Bless me? That has never happened to me in the midst of what I like to call my shamanica. Usually when I'm focused on the energy I'm regarded suspiciously, but not today.

So Hammer, yes, I believe the wall actually does want me there, indeed it does! As I was leaving I saw a group of girls taking pictures of one of the rose tableaus I had carefully arranged. Wow.

Lots of people were making rubbings of the names of their beloved dead, assisted and encouraged by the guys who tend the wall. Anyone who wants me to make an impression of the name of dear ones, let me know. I'll be going back again soon, and would be honored to do this.

A year ago I would never have guessed that I would become so interested in this terrible piece of American history. My imagination is clearly not up to the task of envisioning my really interesting life, is it? Go figure.

Peace.

31 comments:

Rose said...

Oh Reya! This is a beautiful thing you are doing and all the others there who may or may not know what they are doing to....

Squirrel said...

The wall definitely wants you there. I love Maya's wall, and tall of the offerings left there.

Lover of Life said...

It is very powerful. I felt exactly that way when we visited. Those thoughts and roses are appreciated by all those young souls.

BTW - Did you like Star TreK? We went to see it yesterday, too.

PurestGreen said...

A truly wonderful post, and a kind offer to help people to grieve. I still remember standing at the small plaque in my grandmother's home village in Germany, looking at the names of her uncles who had died. 18 years old, 19 years old, 21 years old... for a small village, the list seemed to go on and on.

Elizabeth said...

Deeply moving.
I always cry buckets at war memorials. We only have little black and white photos of the cemetery in Cyprus where my uncle is buried. Aged 27 1944.
My cousin is the only one who has ever visited him.
I'm so glad you went to the wall.
Have you read Tim O'Brien;s The Things they Carried?
If you haven't, you should.
A pat for Jake.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Nice post... lovely sentiment... beautiful rose arrangement.

Poetikat said...

I'm sure your positive energy must be felt on "the other side".

Kat

Tom said...

a special post.

Hannah said...

I was surprised by how moved I was at the wall. It is a perfect tribute and an awesome reminder.

Your hands look just like Mama's.

Reya Mellicker said...

Hannah, I thought that too when I saw the picture.

Delwyn said...

Hi Reya
How are you today?

You say,
"My imagination is clearly not up to the task of envisioning my really interesting life, is it?"

But I think that is exactly what you are doing at present...but from an inverse perspective...

Happy Days

ellen abbott said...

OMG Reya. Thank you so much.

deborah said...

thank you

Joanne said...

What a lovely gesture. Today was also Armed Forces Day, so a fitting tribute on your part.

Hilary said...

What a lovely, caring thing to do. I can feel the tenderness from here.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. :) Much appreciated.

John Hayes said...

A very moving tribute--thanks for this; lovely roses, too.

debra said...

It seems like this is a healing time for all of us, as a nation, and, if we are open, as individuals. It is fitting that this happened, I think.

Rain said...

Really nice thoughts Reya.
:)

Meri Arnett-Kremian said...

I bless you and you bless me too. I'm sure many souls were honored.

Ronda Laveen said...

What gorgeous roses you placed. And the Reiki resonates into the wall and out into the universe. Well done.

poietes said...

I'm so glad that your experience at the wall was what you had hoped and more.

I had the opportunity to see the AIDS quilt, and that was heartbreaking as well. Sal Lopes wrote a book about it. I recommend it after you read Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried that Elizabeth recommended. Both incredible works.

John Hayes said...

Hi Reya:

I have something for you at RF Banjo-- no strings attached!

don carlton said...

Reya -- Next time at the Vietnam
Memorial, would you do a rubbing of
George Markos (died at Pleiku in 1964 or 65). He was a gentle member of
my ROTC class at TCU -- commissioned
at the same time as me. He found
himself by piloting a Huey, dying in
it trying to get it aloft while under
seige at Pleiku.
Thanks. Don Carlton

mouse (aka kimy) said...

what a achingly beautiful and powerful post. thank you.

I can understand why that man wanted to snap your photo....your energy radiates.....

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

Beauty, sadness, strength...you experienced all of that. Thank you for sharing

Val said...

beautiful Reya its so good to know you are in the world!! x

A Cuban In London said...

That was truly a beautiful post. And it left me thinking, when the bodies of the dead soldiers are brought home, when the bodies of the dead natives are buried (if they are lucky to be idenfied by their relatives, if they are lucky to have any relatives left), who holds the powers that be accountable for what they did? Many thanks for such an emotional post.

Greetings from London.

karen said...

Beautiful, and the photo takes my breath away! x

Steve said...

I'm glad you made the experience of visiting the wall richer for those around you, with your roses and your Reiki. :)

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks, Cuban in London!

Don - I'm on it!

Rick said...

The old men lift their glasses.
Tears run down their cheeks.

yeah... yeah they do.