Panorama Skills on the Home Front? NO, MEMORIAL DAY 2020

by panist and Vietnam veteran Dalton Narine

Panorama Skills on the Home Front? NO, MEMORIAL DAY 2020

Global - ....Grandfather was flown back to Venezuela, and later Trinidad, where they named Gonzales, Belmont, after him. Rudolph Charles [“Charlo”] insisted that I was born on the Laventille Hill. Little did he know I was born in Gonzales, a ritual for all our families. Charlo must have meant conceived, not born.

Anyway, in Vietnam, I was in the trenches, too — defensive perimeters made up of wire, mines, machine guns, sandbags and bunkers. I spoke to Grandfather one night when my company was expecting the Viet Cong (VC) to roll in. These night devils would disrupt your sleep in a minute. So I meditated with him as if he were prayers sent by the Almighty. I felt relieved.

On the battlefield, we played a game of survival, young uninformed Trini-American soldiers.
read more

You need to be a member of When Steel Talks to add comments!

Join When Steel Talks

Votes: 0
Email me when people reply –


  • I have long admired the published work of Dalton Narine not only for its content but also for its writing style. Its content, in particular his work on steelbands, a topic dear to me, has been written in a style which is marked by an imaginative flair which seduces the reader into living the story with the writer. No less admirable is his engaging reconstruction of his military life in Vietnam. In many cases, he skilfully treads the divide between imaginative fantasy and factual content.

    But sometimes he leaves me wondering what is fantasy and what is fact, and what is verisimilitude (having the appearance of truth) and what is verifiable. His recent piece on GSMN, Panorama Skills on the Home Front? NO, MEMORIAL DAY 2020 is a case in point.  I read it as part of a continuing memoir. But he left me intrigued by the introduction of his grandfather Federico Gonzales to the story. I am puzzled by the circumstances he describes which led grandpa to get to the trenches. But I am even more intrigued by the story of the naming of a part of Belmont after his grandfather because of his exploits in the trenches. Is this verisimilitude or verifiable fact?  is this imaginative license? Or is this a private family tale woven into the story?

    The area I know as Gonzales, Belmont was named as such long before the Second World War.

  • nice piece.

  • Honoring a patriot and survivor...


    Trinidad All Stars - The Battle Hymn

  • Dalton,

    Your articles of life experiences always captivate me. My mind follows you through each harrowing ordeal and that emotion brings back memories of friends who spent times in those trenches as well..

    On this weekend the country remembers those periods of who did not make it there, those who came back and still did not make it here... and those who walk among us with enough battle scars that they secretly carry in their everyday life.  I carry your memories every day I communicate with my survivor friends.

    Thank you for your service and even more for your ability to tell the world of your survival.

    Brenda H.

  • This is some real deep stuff right here Dalton.



    • Thank you, Bugs. It came from the heart. I've never ever thought I'd be on the front line in a war. I had expected to graduate from Howard University, where friends would stop by my dorm to help them with their work. But I left Howard for NYU (New York University) and suffice to say, the draft board figured I had left school and so drafted me. My life had changed irrevocably in one fell swoop. I though of my grandfather, and my brother, Elton, an artist and a big time swimmer, then I realized I was on my own, among thousands of ground-pounders. So, I fit in like an ordinary Trini and won awards as a Soldier. I don't regret the jungle. I mean walking point in that tight-ass VC groove perked me up. The rest is history. A Screenplay is in the works, but I don't like how Hollywood is pushing me. I want to be the best so I'll complete the work when I'm good and ready. It's up to me, not them. Thanks, Bugs. Blessings. Will stay in touch. Dalton J. Narine

This reply was deleted.