I am a veteran By Lawrence C. Oliver
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 children's schoolteacher.
I'm your plumber, your barber, your family's preacher.
But there's part 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 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 my doubts, 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 jungles, the desert, on mountains and shores, in bunkers, in tents, on dank earthen floors.
While I fought on the grounds, 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 my 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 more who are gone, but their legacy lives as time marches on.
While 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 has 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
Lawrence C. Oliver
World War II U.S.N.
USS Norris DD 859 Shipmate