Sometime ago I sat down and attempted to write a poem worthy of all our veterans from the Revolution to present day conflicts. I hope I've done them justice.
So full of life.
Their dreams would have to wait.
They took up arms when called.
They vowed to protect the innocent.
They promised to return.
They never looked back.
For God, Country, Flag and Family,
they marched off.
They filled the depots with excitement and awe,
Many had never left home.
They did not shirk a duty.
They embraced it with the gusto of youth.
The training was hard,
but they nary complained.
They had been called and would not fail.
Righteousness and justice would be served.
Steamers, transports, and planes departed
to destinations foreign and unknown.
Did they tremble? No.
Did they fear the unknown? No.
Their mission was for freedom from oppression.
Their youth would bring order to the world.
It was time to right wrongs.
It was time to free the down-trodden.
Belleau Wood, Flanders, Bastogne, Guadalcanal.
The names are so strange yet not a complaint is filed.
Normandy, Tarawa, Iwo Jima.
With gusto and grit they fought on.
Caen, Kabul, Baghdad, Tunisia, Metz and Arnhem
They fought on.
Too many friends were dying or maimed.
The sound of shells and bullets were frightening.
Never knowing when one might pass struck no fear.
The mission must be accomplished.
They fought on.
Okinawa, Burma, Bunker Hill, and Charleston.
Saigon, The Iron Triangle, Kason The endless Deltas.
The message the same.
Right the wrongs and don't stop til the deed is done.
How many have died? Too many!
How many have been freed? Not enough!
How much longer? Til the job is done.
They fought on. Freedom will reign.
Tokyo, Berlin, Rome, The Somme.
They fought, they bleed and died,
All in the name of freedom.
The smoke has cleared.
The losses are tallied.
The camps are empty.
White crosses mark the path of youth lost.
The survivors wonder why?
Why did Joe and Bill die so young?
Why did I live?
To remember the past.
To remind generations to come the price of liberty.
The thought provides minor comfort.
They survey the battlefields and remember.
The long cold nights,
The days filled with rain,
Endless guard duty,
Mess kits filled with mush.
A smile creeps across a grizzled hardened face,
Freedom, that is why we came,
Liberty, is why we fought.
Justice, is why they serve.
A last salute to the fallen but not forgotten.
The men and women who have given all.
The veterans of the United States Military.