I Am a Veteran
By Randy Rogers
You know me…I'm a Veteran
I enlisted right after Pearl Harbor
I took the oath with others from my high school
I had to lie about my age to get in
I was drafted
Because I was under age, my parents had to sign
The judge gave me a choice. I chose the U.S. Marines
I signed up for the duration
I made the military my career
I did 3 tours
I was lucky to get home alive
I dove on a grenade to save my fellow soldiers
I signed up for my country, but I fought side-by-side to protect my buddies
I came home, married your mom, and tried not to talk about what I’d seen over there
I lie under a cross, the Star of David, or a Crescent at the Arlington Memorial Cemetery
I was wounded
I charged a machine gun nest
I was scared to death
I peeled potatoes
I gave last rites
I treated sucking chest wounds in battle
My unit was overrun by the NVA
I was hunkered down at Khe Sahn
I fought in the sands of Iwo Jima , Kuwait , and Iraq
I stormed the beaches at Normandy
I climbed the rugged mountains in Afghanistan
Frostbite took two of my toes at the “frozen” Chosin Reservoir
I carried a comrade on my shoulders throughout the Bataan Death March
I lied when I was tortured by the North Vietnamese
I came home with malaria
I came home with post traumatic stress
I still wake up at night in cold sweats, back in Nam’s jungles chasin’ Charlie
The day the war ended, we got a ticker tape parade
When I came home, some people threw dog feces on us and called us baby killers
You know me…I’m a veteran
Someone who may hand your little one a poppy on your way into Wal-Mart
It’s up to you to tell them what it means
Tell them what we’ve done over the years
Won’t you please tell them?
How we left our loved ones?
Traveled to foreign countries?
To protect our freedom?
And that some of us never came back?
Please tell them what we did
It was for you…it was for them…our buddies…it was for all of us.
May we all rest in peace this Veteran’s Day of 2008