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Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day, Poetry, Veterans


The streets are lined again.
The crowd bustles about.
A few stores are open for patrons.
Children pull at their parents pants.
He takes it all in with grim determination,
the past enough far behind.

The assembly area is full of activity.
Organizers scurry about with a purpose.
For some it is there first,
for him, it is a lifetime of honor.

The clock approaches 10:00am.
The crowd becomes restless as children squirm.
Some stand by the curb for a good view.
Others are hoisted to shoulders.
Some sit on lawn chairs wondering why they came.
His eyes never waver from the street.

A gunshot is heard,
It marks the beginning of the festivities.
The shot makes him shudder.
He thinks back of youth lost,
He remembers the deep snow,
the hot tropics,
the smell of cordite.
He forces a tear back.

A cadence booms far away.
Is it the sound of gunfire,
or is it a lost memory?
His eyes strain to see the coming spectacle.

One by one, the lead cars slowly pass by.
He politely waves with acknowledging eyes.
The children jostle for the bits of candy tossed.
Moms and dads tousle with the little ones.
He pays them no mind,
for they are only children.
What do they know of the cost?

His hands gently move over his brass buttons,
making sure no wrinkles show.
His medals, all highly polished,
the Eagle shines brightly from his cover,
again, he fights a tear.

He knows why he came,
He knows the pain and the cost,
he was there.
He held men in pain,
he saw lives extinguished in a blink.
He fights back the memories,
the cries of help, the cries of sorrow,
the sounds of battle.
The memories are a heavy weight.

A toddler accidentally bumps into a wheel.
The chair wobbles just a bit.
He places a kind smile to the tot.
The child retreats to his parents.

There. There they are.
The sight of the banners fills him with pride.
He knows what it still stands for,
he knows the price of letting it blow.

The closer they approach,
the past creeps in with each perfect step.
St. Mere Eglise, Caen, Falaise, and Bastogne.
Was it only yesterday Joe fell, or was it Billy?
It matters not, for many followed them at:
Saigon, Khe Sanh, Hue, and TET.

He remembers the letters to parents of those who fell,
but never met: Tarawa, Tinian, Peleliue, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
He wears the pains of many with the medals.
They performed when called.
They shirked nothing, yet sacrificed all.

The memories almost overwhelm him with pride and grief.
A weathered hand gently pats his right hand.
“Sammy, are you ready?”
The voice is strong, yet comforting.
“Yes Martha.”

They are closer now.
He pushes the locks on the chair,
braces his hands and prepares to rise,
to pay tribute for those before and to come.
A tear slides down his weathered face.
A young voice is barely audible
as the banner becomes brighter and closer.
“Look mommy, that man is crying. Why?'
Her face turns a light scarlet.

They are ten meters and closing,
he summons the strength to stand.
He struggles to rise.
He must rise, he must pay tribute!
They are all his brothers.
He can no longer raise a rifle for safety,
he can only stand in honor for those fallen.
The effort becomes more difficult each passing year.

His strength fails when he needs it most.
He curses softly as his body fails.
They are only five meters away.
He must rise and stand!

Two young strong hands appear from the crowd.
Without a word, they lift him up,
ever standing vigil for balance.
He looks neither left or right,
but straight into the past.

The colors of the Armed Forces are now two meters away.
He straightens a crooked back,
adjusts his cover,
and with the forgotten strength of youth,
raises his right hand and salutes the colors.

The young men stop and return the salute.
The crowd stares in awed silence,
for the commander has stopped the parade.
They stand as straight as a pillar,
neither looking left or right.
The commander barks an order.
The men take one step forward,
and lower the colors.
They stand one meter from the old soldier.

The parade has stopped.
Organizers frantically run about,
the cause is unknown.
Then they see it.
It wasn't in the program,
but they feel something in the air.
Is it electricity or something more?

The commander barks another order.
The group returns a solid salute.
They salute the man and what he wears,
a small blue ribbon attached to a five point medal.

The young commander approaches his brother.
The street is hushed in silence as the words flow;
“Thank you, from a very grateful nation, General.”

He fights back the tears and the memories.
He fights for balance, yet the strong hands assist,
his weakened, aged limbs.
“No” comes a choked response.
“Thank you for remembering us.”
The tears pour freely.
The emotions of fallen comrades erupt as he weeps, never wavering
with his salute.
For an instant, life has become an eternity,
like a giant force, the crowd faces the men,
and without any prompting or fanfare,
apply and return the salute to the men.

The General slides back into the chair.
The squad returns to the street,
each deep in thought as their tears also fall.
Without a word, they proceed forward.
The parade resumes, but with a new force,
a force of arms, a force of purpose,
a force displaying pride and freedom.

It is Memorial Day for the fallen.
“Martha, till next year?”

Copyright@ 2015LDDJ Enterprises Publishing

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Book Signing

Starting this Friday at 10:00am, Robert Lamon and I will be hosting a book signing at the massive Tent Sale at Carswell Joint Naval Air Station in Fort Worth, Texas.

Address is 1510 Chennault Ave. Forth Worth, TX. 76113

Robert will have his excellent book, The Last Dead Hero available. This an excellent fictional account of his experiences in Vietnam. The core of the story surround how it affected him when he returned to a country that wouldn't or couldn't understand the mental anguish many of the returning soldiers suffered.

I will have, Love's True Second Chance, Occupation, Life's Spectrum, Why did Everything Happen, Gateway: Pioche, Destination D.C., Irving Titans and Angelic Answers. I will also have the posters and T-Shirts from Occupation for sale. All products will be discounted a minimum of 10% from list prices on Create Space and Amazon.

Hope to see you there.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Baseball Update. Royals/Tigers

It has been a great day in baseball today. The Rangers pulled out a much needed, exciting split with the Rays today. Gotta love a game that goes down to the wire with the outcome uncertain. Good to see Feliz get a save but his control is still suspect.
Watching the Tigers/Royals game and am not disappointed. Each of these adversaries is showing why they belong at the top and will fight to game 162 for dominance in the AL Central. Neither is giving a quarter and are playing like it's already September. I know each team will hit a drought in a month or two. It's the nature of the beast. But once they've hit that bump and persevered, it will be a race to the finish.
Now for the complaints. I said it at the beginning of the season and I'll say it again, ESPN, take that damn K-Zone down. It's adding nothing to the game other than adding unwanted clutter. I don't know and personally don't care, who at the Mothership thought it was good idea. For me, IT"S NOT! Take it down so we can watch the game.
Second. What in the world is all this kid stuff when the announcers talk to each other? What I'm talking about is Kruky, Knoxy, Kenny, Benny, Johnny, Schilly etc. Is there something wrong with calling them by their real name? Maybe it's too taxing or they think it's cute. Maybe when we were in elementary or junior high, but not at the MLB professional level. If somebody called me Jeffy or Jeffrey, barring my parents, I'd ask them what they were smoking. The name's Jeff. Got it? Jeff. If that's too difficult to pronounce then do me a favor, don't say anything. .
Okay, rant over.Back to the game.
If I get a notion, I just might do a video for this one. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

New York Yankees, Lou Gehring

In honor of one of the greatest men to ever play the game of baseball. 

Lou Gehrig

It wasn’t long ago,
I was a normal Italian
kid in the burrow. Stick ball
was the game of the day.
How times have changed.

The sound of the crowd,
The crack of the bat,
The cheers from the mates.
They call me “The Iron Man.”

My fingers tingle with the
touch of metal. My voice is
unsteady and hoarse, yet I
must come to bat one final time.
One more pitch, one more swing.
“I consider myself the luckiest man
in the world.”

The cheers and cries become muffled as
the dirt covers my eternal tomb.
A smile creeps across my cold lips
and deaf ears.

“Strike three Lou. Come play on my team.”