What does it take that all men should be free?
Brave men such as this; who once fought for me
Though, haunts of war and its hard, aching hollows,
can shadow a life---if the soldier it follows.
Those youthful souls, from America’s deep heart,
Thrust into a war they did not start.
Noble young minds one day came to believe
unseeable things; hearts, minds shouldn’t ever conceive.
Thus, left they, much of themselves in country there…
These burdens, upon shoulders, still yet, they bear.
Even the damage of war, on the bravest of men
So often we still fail, and scarcely comprehend.
Perhaps no singular story can ever be told
How these-- once young, now live and grow old.
Who spent for America, their innocence and youth,
Sacrificing for freedom, with honor, and in truth.
I’ve seen them forge onward with courage and zest
And beheld in gladness, when they became their best.
Moving through life ‘round us, in their courage of then
Now, standing I, privileged—shall I call them my friends…
As I now reap bounty in their gift and their story,
I shall not overlook my own, honest inventory.
For now I see in fullness—the breadth of our debt
Living up close, near you, Surviving Vietnam Vet.