Thursday, January 01, 2009
Dead of Winter
We honor them best when they're dead.
When they're alive we ask too much of them. We take young men, some still boys, and young women, some still girls, and ask them to do terrible things. We line them up, march them around, and line them up again. We send them to faraway lands where people don't look like them, don't talk like them, and don't act like them, except that they too have been lined up and marched around. Far away from their mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters. There, we line them up, march them around, and line them up again.
Some do not come home, but most do. We line them up, march them around, and line them up again. We tell them thank you, pat them on the back, and send them back to the neighborhood they came from. They settle down, build lives and families, struggle with live. Some don't adjust well, but most do. They get jobs, pay taxes, and retire. They get sick, wind up in the hospital. Some don't make it, but most do. And when they don't make it, over there or over here, we line them up.
And honor them best.
In Baltimore National Cemetary.