My name is Ivan Hiestand and I am a Vietnam Veteran.

I am named after an uncle who served with the 101st Airborne during WWII. I served as a Marine 0311, Charlie Company, First Bn,Third Marines and was in Vietnam during 1967. The second image was taken the morning of September 16, 1967 just moments before I was wounded.

The hospital bed photo is of General Westmoreland pinning the Purple Heart on my pillow while recovering from my wounds. I wrote this poem three days before being critically wounded by enemy’s operation fire. This is dedicated to all those brave comrades that did not return home.

I can only say that it was an honor to have fought with such brave men; the rest I have tried to bury deep into my soul.

All In Vain

It’s quiet tonight on this lonely hill,
The guns are hushed and the men lie still.

There lingers a silence beyond all compare,
The smoke from the battle looms in the air.

Today they fought, these daring young few,
Today they died for me and for you.

They were your sons, Americans all,
From all races and creeds, they answered the call.

And what may I ask, did you do today?
You rioted and protested to get your way!

You burned your draft cards to prove us wrong,
You shouted protests to a doubting throng.

You murdered to silence an innocent voice,
Yet here men died, for they had no choice.

For these heroes it’s over, there is no more pain.
Let us all pray to God that it wasn’t in vain.

~ Ivan Hiestand, Vietnam Vet

We are very thankful to Ivan for sharing his story with Comes A Soldier’s Whisper veteran tribute page and invite you to share your service photos and a memory of your wartime experience.

God Bless all who keep us safe.