A boy held up the folded flag,
Cursed it, and called it a dirty rag.
An old man pushed through the angry crowd
With a rusty shotgun shouldered proud.
His uniform jacket was old and tight;
He had polished each button shiny and bright.
He crossed that stage with a soldiers grace,
Until he and the boy stood face to face.
"FREEDOM OF SPEECH", the old man said,
"Is worth dying for. Good men are dead,
So you can stand on this courthouse lawn,
And talk us down from dusk to dawn,
But before any flag gets burned today,
This old man is going to have his say!
My father died on a foreign shore
In a war they said would end all war.
But Tommy and I wasn't even full grown,
Before we fought in a war of our own.
And Tommy died on Iwo Jima's beach
In the shadow of a hill he couldn't quite reach
Where five good men raised this flag so high
That the whole darn world could see it fly.
I got this bum leg that I still drag,
Fighting for this old flag.
Now there's but one shot left in this old gun,
So now it's time to decide which one,
Which one of you will follow our lead,
To stand and die for what you believe?
For sure as there is a rising sun,
You'll burn in hell 'fore this flag burns son!"
Now this riot never came to pass.
The crowd got quiet, and that can of gas
Got set aside as they walked away
To talk about what they had heard this day.
And the boy who called it a "dirty rag"
Handed the old soldier the folded flag.
So the battle of the flag this day was won
By a tired old soldier with a rusty gun,
Who, for one last time, had to show to some
THIS FLAG MAY FADE
YET THESE COLORS DON'T RUN
I said good-bye to my pregnant wife
marched off that day to War
and a thousand men were dying
Maybe a little more
11Bravo, my MOS, Oh..the horror I quickly felt
my friends who died in front of me
legs weak....and so I knelt.
and ask an Angel to guide me home
to see my wife and child
while a thousand men were dying
it didn't make me proud
I was good at what I did
and still can beat the odds
but I came home changed a different man
a piece of me now trod.
For twenty-two years I beat them all
except for that fateful day
when I stopped to view the 'Traveling Wall'
it should not have been this way!
It was not a thousand men I saw
but 58 times that much
I could not stand, nor could I speak
I could not even touch.
The names reached out and grabbed my throat
A Thousand at a time
and filled my eyes with tears of grief
our leaders again had lied.
and now I'm fighting to stay alive
for the Jacks' and Toms' and Bills'
To help a Brother who cried my name
I guess I always will.
For you know now is Veterans Day
at my keyboard I read my mail
and saw Thanks from mothers, and wives, and sons,
More touching than I can tell.
With tears in my eyes I had to leave
couldn't take all this just alone
So I drove to the Deer Horn Valley to see
If my friend Gary just might be home.
And alas,turning when I left his door
the tear still streaked my face
not finding him home I retraced my steps
to another quiet place.
There on a hillside, in the rising mist
some deer quietly nearby fed
but they couldn't comfort a memory of mine
didn't know really what I said.
On the way home I stopped at a market
I really don't know why
Except for the table and two quiet soldiers
That's really what caught my eye.
A card table there, with a jar and some poppies
For a quarter you could have your pick
But I gave then a five-spot, said Welcome Home
then lingered to talk just a bit.
One of those there, Pinkerton the name,
a familar map on his chest
2nd of the 9th Marine was his unit
I knew by the eyes of his test.
The other much older a WW2 vet
Navy tanker he said was his ride
And as we spoke, they rose from their chairs
I could feel then the rising Pride.
I've never joined VFW groups
but this one meets my need
They welcomed me Home and asks my attendance
Was this finally my home indeed?
Just a small town this Walterville place
you'd pass if you blinked an eye
But more in tune to this Veterans Day Welcome
For back in '68 in Vietnam, A Marine was shot 9 times
And now he is my Brother, my friend
the driving of my rhymes.
He did not ride in that parade alone
58,000 vets stood to salute
They were all there
standing tall in spit-shined boots.
And with the flags waving, and drums to the beat
Each child on the sidewalks
with faces so sweet,
Will remember this Day now
and hopefully pass
To their children a sight of
A Soldier with Class!
You can't tell a vet just by looking. What is a vet?
He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel. He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.
She -or he- is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang. He is the POW who went away one person and came back another -or didn't come back AT ALL. He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat - but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no account rednecks and gang members into soldiers, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.
He is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand. He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.
He is the three anonymous heroes in the Tomb Of The Unknowns whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the oceans deep.
He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket-palsied now and aggravatingly slow-who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come. He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.
He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the greatest nation ever known.
So remember each time you see someone who has served our country just lean over and say "thank you"....that's all most people ever need and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.
Two little words that mean a lot, 'THANK YOU' So again, I say thank you to you....Love and hugs, Jeannine
There has been something that has been bothering me, so
I thought that I might talk it over with you here today.
I remember some time ago, (I think it was Memorial Day, or was it Veterans' Day?)
that people were lined up on both sides of the street for a parade.
A high school band was behind me and, naturally, I was leading the parade.
When your Daddy saw me coming along waving in the breeze, he immediately removed his hat
and placed it so that his right hand was directly over his heart.
And you - I remember you.
Standing there as straight as a soldier, you didn't have any hat,
but you were giving me the right salute.
Remember, they taught you in school to place your right hand over your heart,
and little sister, not to be outdone, was saluting the same as you.
There were some soldiers
home on leave and they were standing at attention giving the military
Oh, I was very proud as I came down your street that day.
Now, I may sound as if I am a little conceited, Well I am!
I have a right to be, because I represent you, the people of the United States of America.
But what happened? I am still the same old flag.
Oh, I have a couple more stars added since you were a boy.
A lot more stars added since the beginning of this country,
and and lot more blood shed since that patroitic day so long ago.
Now I don't feel a proud as I used to.
When I come down your street, some people just stand there with their hands in their pockets and give me a small glance and then look away.
I see children running around and shouting.
They don't seem to know who I am.
Is it a sin to be patriotic anymore?
Have some people forgotten what I stand for?
Have they forgotten all the battlefields where men have fought and died to keep this nation free?
When you salute me you are actually saluting them!
Take a look at the memorial rolls some time.
Look at the names of those who never came back.
Some of them were friends and relatives of yours. That's whom you are saluting, not me!
Well, it won't be long until I'll be coming down your street again.
So, when you see me, stand straight,
place your hand over your heart and you'll see me waving back--
that's my salute to you.
And then I will know you remember who I am...
Korean War memorial
cold marble...do you feel?
Or is there a pulse within the touch
that makes you stop and kneel?
When you take the trip across Pearl Harbor
Do you smell the rising oil?
black billowing smoke...have meaning for you?
Locked in a Battle Royal.
When the cannon resounds at a football game
Do you turn to see the score?
Or is your memory jogged
To fields of red
the bodies of the Civil War.
This summer along a hot-white Beach
did you touch it with your hand?
Oh yes, Desert Storm...not too distant be
but fought on similar sand
On a cold rainy day
did you think of him there?
Eyes hollow in mud or snow.
Please tell me these things before I die
I'd really like to know.
Please raise your children to practice these words
Then I'll leave you alone in Peace.
This poem by a Vietnam Veteran
Whos memories will never
He also was an 11bravo like me
but a Marine 0311
He still can catch the curve ball but
he catches now in heaven.
I made a vow today , so sad
to speak with his Mom and speak with his Dad.
I did not have to travel far, since I spoke to them
I'll leave this message on the Web
So Jack will know I care
For you see , Jack checks it often
To see the words of Vets
And what you write,
makes a catcher smile..
Gave his life
with no regrets.
And on top of that, I feel alone
my children now most gone
with their young ones cradled in their laps
the visits aren't too long.
Cat's in the Cradle a favorite song
words come back to me now
Oh..to have the days again
Rhymes of a spoon and a cow...*S
But face it like a man of 50?
the children and the War?
Can't ever heal if I feel sorry
Can't make it up no more.
Instead I smile at young ladies passing
who seem to call me "Dad"
and grandchildren call me "Pop"--so what
It doesn't make me mad
No , that's a different story friend
A different time and place
When banners were carried in the streets
each Soldier felt disgrace
Shrug it off--forget the past--
Don't spout PTSD they say to me
I know of those wheelchair bound
With wounds for all to see.
Compassion..? yes--more than you'll know
I help them when... I try
Don't need to ask me why I do
Reflections in the "Wall" is why
Now I can hold my head up friend
I hear the distant call
This Brother only wants the Peace
Just make the choice..