An American Soldier Knows

American soldiers
In black and white
But I saw red white and blue
They were sad
But they were brave
They loved their flag
But they loved each other more
They have a history
Of glory
And horror
We see the movies
We know of the destruction of tyranny
Today it seems our country is at war with itself
But for a moment in history
We came together
And defeated evil
We found the truth of Auschwitz
And we made the Germans bury the dead bodies
We made them walk down death row
Slowly in a solemn procession
So they could see what they had done
Their tears were frozen solid
From the cold of what they had ignored
The witness to this evil cannot accept an apology
He cannot forgive because he saw the devil’s eyes
And he knows there is no remorse
The dread of going back wakes him up at night
The only one who understands was killed in battle
Why did he not receive his own bullet of glory?
Mental illness gains no understanding for a veteran
Asking for help is not how a warrior wants to live
He wants the glory of battle and the strength of his victory
And yet he remains broken while we revel in our holiday
Can the ears of a man who walked in hells corridors hear you?
Can he ever smile again knowing the truth of freedoms cost?
And yet these old men are slowly dying
And our flag is not respected by all
The reasons for respect are being challenged
There is no emotional bond between fear and victory
Strangers do not kiss in the streets
The heroes are not welcomed home
And some question what we did
But not those buried in tombs of sacrifice
The do not have that luxury
For a man who sits passing judgment
Cannot know for whom he serves
Except the erosion of the national will
Yes it is good to love peace
And to let doves fly
But when it is time again
Whom will hear the bell
And whom will flee?
Maybe the soldier doesn't agree
He has seen it all
We assumed glory and honor was ours to keep
And asked our soldiers to fight again and again
Each time he lost his standing
Little by little
Because money became the God
And the soldier became the tool
People smile at the idea of his valor
But refuse to hear his tales of confusion
It is never easy to kill another man
No cause exists at the point of impact
But to honor a solider is to honor his memory
For when called upon he served
And now he calls upon you to listen
But is he being heard?

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Comments 6 comments

Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

this is beautiful and so true.. I love it.. after my father came home from Vietnam he was treated so badly it hurt him more than being in Vietnam. Bless you for writing this

Happy memorial day to you


I am sharing

The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 4 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

Hi Deborah - I wanted to write something for Memorial Day. Last night I saw a documentary about WWII and it was eye-opening even though I feel I'm aware of the horror. It seems I can be surprised everytime about the new things I learned. But there was some national consensus about that... in this piece I sort of start there but then I remembered Micky Dee and his private hell and it confuses me as to what to think. But I honor them and they have seen and done something that I will never approach in my life. Not killing a man; but living with the knowledge that it was happening, that they did it, that it could be them next, the fear, the confusion... all of it...

rahul0324 profile image

rahul0324 4 years ago from Gurgaon, India

I have been awed today by you fellows who support your country and protectors in such a way... I yearn .. my nation gets some enlightenment... like this..


Beautiful powerful brilliant :)

The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 4 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

Hi rahul. Thank you for the comment. I've been thinking about what you said about how we support our country. Americans as you may already know have an enormous amount of pride and expectation for ourselves and our country. We expect to be the best. It's engrained in us early in our lives. We have studied our military history in the schools and while it is not intended to glorify killing it does teach us of the awesome debt we owe to men and women who willingly gave their lives for their belief in true freedom. The United States has many flaws and things to answer for because we are just human beings. But the collective is bonded by the idea of freedom and we have grown around this concept to become who we are. Believe me, there are voices in our country who despise the militaristic side of our country. There was a reporter the other day who came out saying he did not like referring to our soldiers as heroes because he thought it fostered further warlike tendencies. I think he over-intellectualized the situation because the soldiers are heroes in many ways. But to support a soldier is to thank him and also to try and not put him in harms way. So it is a complicated love affair we have with our military.

As always I am humbled by your continued support of what I have to say on Hubpages.

sweethearts2 profile image

sweethearts2 4 years ago from Northwest Indiana

Wow - you expressed the feelings of so many soldiers. In April I took my husband's cremains to Arlington, Va where he was paid full honors for his service to his country. He was a WWII pilot in the South Pacfic and had a great respect for all servicemen. Especially the Vietnam veterans who didn't get the respect they deserved for their service. Thank you so much for this beautiful piece of writing. Voted up and awesome.

The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 4 years ago from Austin, Texas Author

@sweethearts2 - Well after what you told me here I can only say I'm honored that I can speak to this subject and get it right. I have no experience in the military. I was born in 1958 so I missed the draft. But I've read a lot about the 60's and WWII and listened to the good and the bad and try to come up with my own conclusions in prose form. I'm trying to be honest and not politically correct; but I admire anyone who felt the pressure of the next bullet.... I'm sorry about your husband... sounds like he was honored properly. Thank you again.

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