“There’s so many different worlds, so many different suns, and we have just one world, but we live in different ones …” – DC Memorial Day and the Rolling Thunder – Tống Mai

May 30, 2016 (TM)

Memorial Day and the Rolling Thunder in their “Run to the Wall” journey
in Washington DC

There’s so many different worlds, so many different suns
And we have just one world, but we live in different ones

Those lines ring such sadness from the song “Brothers in Arms”
… and then there came The Rolling Thunder in their pilgrimage journey “Run for the Wall” or “Ride to Freedom” for “Those Who Can’t”, who did not come home from battles. Hundreds of thousands of them from all walks of life across the United States on their motorbikes heading to the wall of Vietnam Veterans Memorial every year on Memorial Day to honor their fallen brothers in arms.

I was there the day the Wall was unveiled in 1982, then every year since then. It’s been 34 years but the sadness and gratitude undiminished still.  Today, in my thought, there’s a link between the song and the Rolling Thunder for their brothers in arms whose names inscribed on that black wall, and there was a lot of emotions as I watched the wreath laid at the center of the Wall by the American Vietnamese community the day before in memories of the American soldiers who fought and died in Vietnam.

… and the emotions linger.

Tống Mai
Memorial Day 2016

Brothers in Arms
www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBadAVsdixk

Mai 2016 - Memorial day1h
Photo: TongMai

These mist covered mountains are a home now for me
But my home is the lowlands and always will be
Someday you’ll return to your valleys and your farms
And you’ll no longer burn to be brothers in arms

Through these fields of destruction, baptisms of fire
I’ve witnessed your suffering as the battle raged higher
And though they did hurt me so bad in the fear and alarm
You did not desert me my brothers in arms

There’s so many different worlds, so many different suns
And we have just one world, but we live in different ones

Now the sun’s gone to hell and the moon’s riding high
Let me bid you farewell, every man has to die
But it’s written in the starlight and every line in your palm
We are fools to make war on our brothers in arms

Vietnam Women's Memoria "While one nurse comforts the soldier, another kneels in thought or prayer. The third looks to the skies - for help from a medevac helicopter, or perhaps from a higher power." Photo: TongMai
Vietnam Women’s Memoria
“While one nurse comforts the soldier, another kneels in thought or prayer. The third looks to the skies – for help from a medevac helicopter, or perhaps from a higher power.”
Photo: TongMai
Photo: TongMai
Wreath from the American Vietnamese communities. Photo: TongMai
Photo: TongMai
Photo: TongMai
Photo: TongMai
Photo: TongMai
Photo: TongMai
Photo: TongMai
Photo: TongMai
The Rolling Thunder bikes parked on the lawn next to the Vietnam Memorial. Photo: TongMai
Photo: TongMai
Photo: TongMai
Photo: TongMai
Photo: TongMai
Photo: TongMai
Photo: TongMai
Photo: TongMai
Photo: TongMai
Photo: TongMai
A group of photographers from the Vietnamese Photographic Society in Washington DC (VNPS) chat with a Vietnam war veteran from the Rolling Thunder. Photo: TongMai
Photo: TongMai
Photo: TongMai
Mai 2016 - Memorial day 4l
Photo: TongMai
Mai 2016 - Memorial day2b
Photo: TongMai
Photo: TongMai
The Rolling Thunder on I-66 Virginia. Photo: TongMai

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