Thank you to everyone who served before me for preparing the way.
Applebee’s, November 11th
Old warriors gather around
All five branches show out in style
Stories of bravery abound
All old and gray, mostly white, mostly men
This we’ve come to expect
Throw in a cane, gut, beard, or wheelchair
But honor demands respect.
Still there’s nobody here I wanna mess with
Under the banner “Free Entrée.”
“Thank you for serving,” America tells them,
An attitude I hope never goes away.
For there was a time when some of them served,
Fought and watched their buddies die
But when they came back to white America
Some were not welcome inside
So it was, veterans of one Great War
Were gathered like cattle later on
And soldiers, whose bullets no color did know
Were promptly told to move along
And then came the wars that shouldn’t have been
Though all of America said “Go,”
That when these warriors came in country again
The answer had turned into “No.”
But there’s flags and streamers, ribbons and buttons,
Post-9/11 all over again
“Thank you for serving,” America tells them –
Let’s make sure they hear it again.
Though I may sit here among future veterans
Laughing and carrying on
Tell me, tell me, who will take their place
When these old soldiers fade on?
The looks in their eyes, the scars on their bodies,
The memories they wear every day
There’s still not any of them I would mess with
“Afternoon, sir,” is all I can say.
Now I don’t see them giving war glory
They were just doing their job.
“Sorry, grandson, I am no hero,
But I served in a company of.”
What matters today? Job title? Their hometown?
Branch? Medals? Dates? Ranks?
Or just that they gave what their country requested,
Whether or not the country said, “Thanks.”
One day I know that I will be grayer
My body won’t be what it’s been
And I’ll take my place among those old warriors
But I’m at the kids’ table till then.