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Rated: E · Poetry · Military · #1689745
A young veteran is the marshall of a local parade.. 1st Place, Veterans' Contest Aug. 2010
The Veteran

He sat there quietly, nestled among the crowd
His thoughts were many, but said little out loud
A flag of his nation was draped across his knee,
It was there in plain view, for everyone to see

He patiently sat and watched the floats glide past
The marching bands were great, but went by a bit fast
The colorful clowns brought a smile to his face,
And for just a moment, he forgot his place

Often he’d raise a hand and wave to someone near
At other times he seemed distracted, as if he wasn’t here
He looked a bit uncomfortable with the attention that he got
But appeared resigned to this, as if it was his lot

He peered down the street looking with eyes so bright
He wanted to see something special in that days sunlight
He tried not to show how anxious he was to see
And sat there as if in a trance, waiting patiently

When he finally spied it approaching, he slowly rose to his feet
It seemed to take an effort to get up from his seat
People offered help, one gave an arm on which to lean
But his eyes never left his prize, in the days sunlight they gleamed

As it passed his place, he raised a hand in salute
His eyes glistened with tears, but he stood there resolute
He saluted the flag as he’d done so many times before
He honored the flag, defended it on many foreign shores

When it was all over, and everyone else had moved on
His father looked down at him and said, “I’m proud you’re my son.
It’s been 4 years since you left and went off to the war,
Now you’re home safe and sound, with us forever more.”

The young veteran smiled and looked off into the clear air,
Then slowly sat again in his powered wheelchair
The war had cost him dearly, but he was still alive,
Unlike many of his comrades, who’d fought and lost their lives

His legs had been shattered beyond any hope of repair
To stand he used prosthetics, but was never in despair
He always had a smile and encouraged all he met
To accept what life offered them, live with no regrets

It had been an honor to be Grand Marshall of this parade
But with everything done for the day, he slowly left the stage
As he once again gazed into the now cloud filled sky
He envisioned all his military friends, slowly passing by

Jim Dorrell
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