My Thank You – A Veteran’s Day Poem

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Every year on Memorial Day, my family attends a local event that honors those who’ve served. It’s a sobering event. Hundreds of veterans and their families together in one place, remembering.

On this gorgeous sunny morning, I’m reminded of the poem that woke me up at 5 am from a deep sleep a few years back. I wrote these words down before they flew away, brain still foggy from sleep. Thought I would share it again.

As the wife, daughter, and granddaughter of soldiers, I am grateful for the men and women who serve.

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My Thank You

The sound of brushes skimming boots, alarm clocks beeping, turned to mute.

For morning toast, the sounds of snaps, the zippers pulled and laces strapped.

The forehead kisses under blankets warm, the ‘I love you’s’ whispered before the dawn.

For every Christmas dinner missed, for every newborn never kissed.

Thanksgiving football never played, for lovers hugs that never fade.

For rifle burns and wind chapped skin, sunburned necks from desert winds.

Missing months of life at sea, for banged up shins, for thoughts of me.

Burning eyes from sights and sand, for marching on, because you can.

Blistered feet from wool worn raw, for heavy hearts when comrades fall.

Fingertips rubbed raw with dirt, digging, building… sweaty shirts.

Bridges, tunnels, wet gaps, quarries…for creating things, for campfire stories.

For elder arms that ache with loss, your years of debt, your Catholic cross.

Guitar strums of love song notes, wavered over campfire smoke.

Released in song, your baritone, memories flow when played alone.

For resilient backs at cenotaphs, for legion nights and belly laughs.

The crooked back and haggard jaw, for keeping nations safe, for law.

For masking hurts when aching strikes, enduring pain in dark of night.

The shuffle forth when agings ‘nigh. Your bones ache now, but chin still high.

The anguish felt from home as well, when time to go has lost its spell.

The settled grim, the pride of heart, the knowing when your time will start.

Those hangar hugs and kisses felt, those tears that flow when knees are knelt.

The promises of “I’ll return”. The empty chairs…the marble urn.

For all the things come to mind, of those I’ve loved that served their time.

So many debts, the training, wars. The aching hearts, the open sores.

The wounds that never seem to heal, your stories burn, they live. They’re real.

I thank you all. So many men. They walk the walk, they’ve lived their ‘when’.

To protect their land, to serve their kin, Lest We Forget, for all they’ve been.

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart.

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