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I Salute the Proud Warrior
Salute to the Veteran
Arlington National Cemetery, hallowed and sacred ground
Where a nation shows respect to those who were duty bound
Statesmen and Coast Guard, Airmen and Marines
Soldiers and Sailors, battles unknown and unseen.
The crowd comes to their feet as the soldier draws nigh
For the Changing of the Guard, a ceremony high
Filled with ritual and meaning to those gathered in this place.
Especially the bus full of veterans watching with solemn faces.
My gaze is drawn to one veteran above them all
He sits in a chair pushed by a helper proud and tall
This once strong warrior carries memories from of old
Of distant battle grounds and friends brave and bold.
Once a young man who served in World War II
On shores far from family and places he knew
The horrors he saw in his younger years
Are etched on his face, too proud for tears.
As many in the crowd raise their arms in salute
The warrior pushes up from the chair, resolute
To his feet he arises on legs that waiver a bit
He won't be held back by time or forced to sit.
As he draws himself taller, his arm rises high
A sharp salute he executes without even a sigh
His shoulders are straight, the years fall away
As he honors the flag he loves and fought for that day.
Tears roll down my face as I watch from the crowd
He reminds me of my dad, of whom I'm so proud
I thank the veteran silently from far away
For the service he gave to our country that day.
In a land far away to a people not known to most
Standing for freedom and duty, as he served at his post
I remember him again as Memorial Day draws near
And thank the proud veteran again through my tears.