AFTER THE WAR
My name is Billy Johnson, Indiana's my state. I turned 21 back in '68.
Drafted into the army, sent to Fort Leonard Wood. When I left my
hometown I prayed it wasn't for good.
His name was Hector Gonzalez, from San Jose. We got stuck with KP, the
very first day. After peelin' potatoes for hours on end, Hector and I
were the closest of friends.
When they put us on a troop jet, and flew us to 'Nam, Some guy stood
up in the back and read the twenty-third psalm. He talked about
walkin' through that valley of death, I said Hector I'm scared, He
said "just take a deep breath".
When we got off the plane and our assignments came in, I got sent to
Pleiku, he got sent to Long Binh. He hugged me goodbye and turned
around at the door, And he said, "Don't forget look me up, after the
About three months later, He wrote me a letter, He said some days are
rough and some days are better, And a kid named gilardo we knew from
basic training, Was missing in action up north, by the way, i meant
what i said before; Don't forget to look me up, after the war.
I was out on patrol in the spring of '69, I stepped on a trip wire,
took some shrapnel from a mine. Spent the rest of my tour in a
hospital bed, With a pin in my leg, and a plate in my head.
On the plane ride home I thought of all I'd been through, I'd lived
nine lives and I was just 22 And I thought about Hector and what I'd
promised before, And I planned to look him up,Right after the war.
Twenty-one years later in Washington DC, I was there on vacation with
my family. I went out to that park to see that wall And face up to a
past I didn't want to recall.
First I looked for that guy that Hector wrote me about, He wasn't on
the list, I guess he lucked out. Then my eyes caught a name at the top
of the page, Corporal Hector Gonzalez, 21 years of age
My throat got tight, my mouth went dry. I looked up at that wall and I
started to cry. And the memories hit me like incoming fire, From a
time when we were so-o-o young, Hector wavin' at me from the door,
Sayin' don't forget to look me up, after the War.
I lay awake some nights, I can still hear the guns, Still hear the
screams, I can still taste the blood. I can still see Hector wavin'
goodbye from the door, Sayin' "Don't Forget To Look Me Up, After The