A Man of High Esteem
Richard Reed Jr
Age Rating: 7 +
He seemed to have more confidence
than anyone else in senior high,
and why shouldn't he,
he was a handsome hunk, a four letter athlete,
and president of our class.
It seemed only natural that he join our boys
fighting in the hell holes of Iraq.
His boot-camp went like cadence count,
one two three four, one two--three four,
his uniform was bright and crisp,
shoes highly polished,
no matter what his aim he always hit the target.
He stood the tallest of the tall it seemed
in highest confidence.
His time like everybody Else's, finally did arrive.
He shipped out to the land of sands and time,
and thought it most ironic that
the hand that rocked civilization's cradle
might also dig its grave.
He fought with strength, courage and valor.
Self-confidence was his middle name.
As days dragged on like letters sent from home,
and checkers bridged the gap
between the bullets and the bombs,
with each of his buddies lying in a pool
of blood, one by one the war had eaten them up.
He asked himself why they had gone
while he remained still here.
The reservoir of confidence
which filled him once from head to toe
vanished in the scattering desert winds.
He saw his former self as only a mirage
dancing in the vibrant waves of heat,
rising from the desert floor,
a balloon deflating in the twilight dusk.
Months and months of hospital food without talking,
just staring at the ceiling and the walls,
seeing nothing, hearing nothing,
a catatonic state of mind they said,
the shrinks and nurses who filled out
their daily reports, and handed out the pills,
shrugged their shoulders, scratched their heads, walked away.
One sunny morning during his hand-fed breakfast,
along with the brilliance of the day,
this down-ward darkened soldier came to light.
The gleam in his reborn-visioned eye
would make the most calloused of us cry.
So quick was his recovery then,
that soon he was returned, sent back to the front.
The medals that he wears today upon his pressed dress blues
are but tokens of his confidence, standing tall and proud,
as once he used to do, as he gives another speech
to his high school alma mater with a hardly noticed change.
Whereas before his pride was born of giving to himself,
his pride today comes from the knowledge of why he lived,
to give meaning to his buddies' deaths, and to his country's flag.
*****To our brave and dedicated servicemen fighting for my freedom*****