I am a Veteran

You may not know me the first time we meet
I’m just another you see on the street
But I am the reason you walk and breathe free
I am the reason for your liberty
I am a Veteran

I work in the local factory all day
I own the restaurant just down the way
I sell you insurance, I start your IV
I’ve got the best-looking grandkids you’ll ever see
I’m your grocer, your banker, your child’s schoolteacher
I’m you plumber, your barber, your family preacher
But there’s par of me you don’t know very well
Just listen a moment, I’ve a story to tell
I am a Veteran

I joined the service while still in my teens
I traded my prom dress for camouflage greens
I’m the first in my family to do something like this
I followed my father, like he followed his
Defying my fears and hiding doubt
I married my sweetheart before I shipped out
I missed Christmas, then Easter, the birth of my son
But I knew I was doing what had to be done.
I served on the battlefield, I served on the base
I bound up the wounded and begged for God’s grace
I gave orders to fire, I followed commands
I marched into conflict in far distant lands
In the jungle, the desert, on mountains and shores
In bunkers, in tents, on dank earthen floors
While I Fought on the ground, in the air, on the sea
My family and friends were home praying for me

For the land of the free and the home of the brave
I faced my demons in foxholes and caves
Then one dreaded day, without drummer or fife
I lost an arm, my buddy lost his life
I came home and moved on, but forever was changed
The perils of war in my memory remained
I don’t really say much, I don’t feel like I can
But I left home a child, and came home a man
There are thousands like me, thousands more who are gone
But their legacy lives as time marches on
White crosses in rows, and names carved in queue
Remind us of what these brave souls had to do
I’m part of a fellowship, a strong mighty band
Of each man and each woman who served this great land
And when Old Glory waves, I stand proud, I stand tall
I helped keep her flying over you over all.

I am a Veteran

Andrea C. Brett (2003)