Friday, June 10, 2016

Back Story (A Memorial to Veterans)

Global War on Terror
At the end of May I had the privilege of attending the dedication of the Nevada State Veterans Memorial.  It was a moving event, but there is also a power in the Memorial itself.  Later that afternoon, once the crowds from the dedication had dispersed, I walked through the Memorial contemplating the service of so many ordinary people that were willing to sacrifice so much for others.  In an attempt to capture the power of the sculptures, I snapped a number of pictures.  

Family and Predecessors 
For days I've thought about how to capture my thoughts regarding those that serve.  This week I came across this poem by cowboy poet Waddie Mitchell.  The story told is representative of what so many have experienced-veterans, families, and those on the home front.  I hope this might touch others the way it touched me.

Vietnam War
Back Story
by Waddie Mitchell

Who the fella was eluded us
              Nobody in town knew
Just showed up that mild winter
              Back in 1982

He became our burg’s first homeless
              Proving harmless in his ways
Hanging near the bins and benches
              In our city park all day

‘Til the sheriff came and told him
              He must move around ‘til dark
For, we don’t want people loitering
              Or begging in our park

So, move he did, perpetually
              He marched our small town streets
From can ‘til can’t he constantly
              Made rounds around his beat

Well, season passed as did the years
              He’d melded in our ‘scape
Though he’s talking, now, as walking
              In his never-changing gait

Then, with time, he starts expounding
              Using gestures and raised voice
We were sure he’d be committed
              Seemed they’d have no other choice

But he made sure that he checked out
              Before that’s what they could do
And our country, then interred
              The strangest man we never knew

‘Twas time and lots of query
              Finally found his next of kin
Who had given up on
              Ever hearing anything of him

So, they wrote and sent an obit
              That was printed in our rag
Which filled a lot of gaps in
              With its all too tellin’ tag

Seems he’d been his high school’s quarter back
              And top of his large class
Won a scholarship to Stanford
              But he humbly took a pass

So, he joined the U.S. Army
              Scored high on all their tests
Finished jump and Ranger schools up
              Where they only take the best

Then OCS, then off to war
              Where he was in its hell
The Bronze Star and a Purple heart
              Ain’t half there is to tell

Returning home he found he
              Couldn’t acclimate or cope
And his family prays, he’s finally found
              A bit of peace and hope

Revolutionary War

Revolutionary War

Civil War

World War II

Korean War