Veterans (poem)

Those caps and vests
declare service
to our country

a branch of the military
a unit number
the name of a ship.

Part of a humble community
of men who said yes
when called.

for the rest of us,
a grateful nation.

The soul of America
stooped, tattooed, hands gnarled,
burden of memories, to protect us.

Bearing Purple Heart scars,
also internal wounds
from deployment.

Handclasps, comradeship,
exclude the rest of us,
thankful for their selflessness.

Chuck Thompson, USAF 1965-69, West Berlin. Uncle Charles Thompson, WWII Marine tank gunner Pacific. Uncle Leon Thompson WWII Army. Uncle Lyle Thompson WWII Marine machine gunner MIA 1942. Cousin Jerry Thompson Vietnam Combat Engineer. Cousin Raymond Thompson, USAF, killed in accident while serving. Mom’s half brother. Lyle Cheever, in the last US Army’s horse cavalry unit. When they began to disband the mounted cavalry, the Army made him a cook. Re-joined the Army after War was declared and served as a light infantry tank commander and fought across France, Belgium and Germany.


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