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The Welcome Home
20 September, 2006
author: Rebecca Ditch-Hammack (aka Dreamer)

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Today is the day Johnny is coming home
She stands among them
Thousands wait at the airport
Waiting for their loved ones
Their personal heroes
Those who elected to go to war
To fight for a cause that some cannot understand

The night was cold as she stood there shivering
Faces beamed not noticing the chill
Excited they waited cheering at the airline lights
each time a plane came in to land

Finally it came
Cheers erupted from everywhere
As the first of the soldiers happily walked by
They waved, some near running to find their loved ones
The ones they missed so much
Home.. The War is over for them

She watches as each man embraces his love
She watches each tear fall in joy and happiness
She watches as all of Johnny's comrades and friends arrive
She stands alone waiting

She feels a hand on her shoulder
Turning to see who it might be
A soldier stood strong behind her

"You're Johnny's mother"
"Yes" she said choking back her own tears
"He was a fine soldier and friend..
Can I ask why you came here?
It must be very hard for you"
"I'm here for Johnny to welcome you all home
You are his friends and he would have wanted it,
This is what should have been for me"

With that he hugged her tight
and she let the tears fall
She heard him say softly
"Mom, I am home."

She smiled and said warmly
"Welcome Home"
She turned and started walking
the long walk back to the car
that would take her home

****************

Tonight is the night he gets to come home
It has been a long year and a half
The others were laughing and joking having a few drinks
Lots of backslapping and teasings
Speaking of thoughts of the immediate future

Among them he sits silent
Looking out the window
It is the end of the nightmare
yet one from which he will never fully wake
For him the homecoming would be hard

While he was away life went on; the way it does
He knew no one would be waiting for him
He would walk down the long line of happy faces
Just wanting it to be over.

The plane landed and taxied down the runway
They were detained
Some politician they didn't know had to be the first
Welcoming them home with his speech no one wanted to hear
Some sat respectfully listening and not hearing
Others were like high schoolers making little sounds
boos and hisses.

Finally the politician finished and the doors opened
He let the eager go before him..
All of them saying their goodbyes to each other
Final back patting as some took off quickly alone
Others lingered waiting to walk with friends
He gathered his backpack and left

He chose to walk alone
His foot steps were not as fast or eager
His comrades and friends said their friendly
"We made it. We're Really Home"
He put on a smile for their happy endings

He walked the long walk down the parade of smiling faces
He looked for someone familiar in the crowd
He knew he would not see the one he longed to see
But he did see one he recognized among the crowd.
Johnny's mother.

He went to see her.. Wondering why on earth she was there
Johnny had been killed in combat
And he was sure she knew he would not be coming home
But there she was standing alone watching them arrive

He made his way thru the crowd
and gently laid his hand on her shoulder

"You're Johnny's mother"
"Yes" she said choking back her own tears
"He was a fine soldier and friend
Can I ask why you came here.
It must be very hard for you?"
"I'm here for Johnny to welcome you all home
You are his friends and he would have wanted it
This is what should have been for me"

With that he hugged her tight
and knew that she needed to let her tears fall
He said softly
"Mom, I am home."

She smiled and said warmly
"Welcome Home"
She turned and walked
the long walk back to the car
that would take her home

He turned and hurried to follow her
"Do you mind if I walk with you a while"
"Wouldn't you rather be with your friends?
I am sure your loved ones are waiting"

He looked at her tear filled eyes
watching her strength failing
I am afraid while I was gone my mother passed away
She was all I had. So there is no one here for me
"Would you like a ride home"
"Yes" he replied
And they finished their walk in silence.

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Comments on this poem/writing:

MC (70.88.11.52) -- Wednesday, September 20 2006, 07:45 pm

Oh, Becky

This has me crying shamelessly, at the library. What a sad, but beautiful story you have written. The saddest part, is that it is a reality for so many. Thank you for sharing this lovely write.
Rick Ryckman (71.97.18.92) -- Sunday, October 1 2006, 10:51 pm

Becky

I have just been looking at my computer with tears falling. A truly inspiring poem - very moving.

Their is a veterans site called IWVPA. I feel you should post it there. I am sure war veterans would greatly enjoy reading - and be able to relate to it.

I am glad I was in the right place at the right time to be able to read these lines.
shiloh (67.251.100.215) -- Saturday, March 27 2010, 06:03 pm

beautiful...

you can be proud of this one, becky. very moving, very emotional, very well written. peace...
Becky (75.16.237.242) -- Sunday, March 28 2010, 02:05 am

wow

I just made myself cry re-reading this... I forgot about this one.
 
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