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Heroes, All Around
Author: Marion Carroll

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They gathered at the Hilton, in San Antonio,
to band again as brothers, like they had so long ago.
This time they hadn't come to fight; they came to reminisce,
and talk about the things they'd done and people that they missed.

They brought a lot of pictures and a few rare videos,
and sat around the tables, rembering their heroes.
In quiet tones they spoke of things, they'd spent years concealing.
Though the memories were painful, this Re-union was for healing.

In the pews of a lovely church, they sat and paid respect
for those no longer with them. And as you would expect,
the tears flowed without shame, while they called the names and cried.
It was unclear if they were glad to be the ones who had survived.

When they stood the rifle up behind the boots that stood before,
and placed the helmet on the top and the dog tags on the floor;
I felt a suffocating pain as my heart had come undone.
For among the etchings on those tags, my fathers' name was one.

For 18 days in '66, he'd led these men in battle.
He was fearless. Proud. Intense. He was a man of mettle.
His example so inspired them, it lived long after, when
he died to soon, and then became a Giant among men.

I had come by invitation, as a guest and as a friend.
They placed the wreath that I had made, at the statue of the men
who had fallen there in Vietnam, so many years ago.
Whe Taps was blown, we hung our heads, for Freedoms gift, bestowed.

In the forty years that had since passed, they'd all gone their own way.
Scattered 'round the country, they bore the price they had to pay.
That one year of duty they had served was always on their mind.
And the truth was, they had never left, and they'd left no one behind.

In the stillness of the darkest nights, the relive the battles, yet.
And swear upon their souls, those who fell, they won't forget.
They can't live in denial of the things that they recall.
It remains inside their minds, engraved like names upon a wall.

In this lifetime, we won't understand the horrors that they've known,
and no matter who may love them, they will always feel alone.
No, I can't begin to comprehend, for I've nothing to compare,
what things they see inside their heads, through that thousand yard stare.

There is no finer man to me, than the one who goes to war,
and puts his life upon the line for his Country and the Corps.
While they'd placed a few on pedestals, and most stayed on the ground,
when I stood amongst these men, I saw Heroes, all around.

At the Banquet on the last night, amid the teeming herd,
they honored me with membership into the Thundering Third.
As I glanced across the crowded room, and looked them in the face,
the valor still within their hearts, made the waning years, erase.

And I saw a sea of young men, who stood tall and proud and true,
whose courage and conviction, ran Red and White and Blue.
Forever in my heart, just like my Father, at his death,
the men they were, they'll ALWAYS be, until my dying breath.

While I have no memories of my own, of this man these men revere,
his legacy exists today, for what they persevered.
My father must have been so proud to lead such fine young men.
And in the company of Heroes, my father lived, again.

Once more I find myself in debt for the service of this Corps.
They welcomed me amongst them, and with that, did so much more.
Their memories of my father filled the spaces of my life tome.
I crossed the chasm of eternity, as they gently brought me home.

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Comments on this poem/writing:

Bipedalguy (4.156.129.175) -- Wednesday, November 22 2006, 04:37 am

Consider this:

For those of us who lost a loved one, the loss was enormous. For each of those loved ones who were lost, the loss was TOTAL. They lost ALL of their loved ones, but they may have died with the hope that the cause for which they died might still be achieved. It's sad to realize that 58,000 young Americans died alone in a war that Washington D.C. was never totally committed to. No American should ever die in such a war.
I'm sorry for getting carried away.
M.C. I'm especially sorry for the loss of your father in Viet Nam. I believe that your writing will make him proud, and your pride in him will surely give him joy.

Bipedalguy, Once a soldier.
barb (67.58.200.189) -- Wednesday, November 22 2006, 05:11 pm

so touching

I'm sorry for your loss. You lost a heroe, a heroe to all. Beautiful write MC
Meridian (141.152.139.243) -- Wednesday, November 22 2006, 05:19 pm

I say the same

GENUINE MC! As unfortunate as it is for our soldiers heading to war, they are definitely heroes and inspirations. It's truly tragic when some soldiers don't make it out alive, like your father. But I can imagine the calm you felt when your father was recognized and honored at the memorial ceremony....

Like the rest of your writings, this poem was a power-house.
MC (68.35.198.43) -- Tuesday, December 5 2006, 07:48 pm

Thank you all,

and sorry it has taken me so long to reply. (computer issues) This happens to be an autobiographical poem, about attending the re-union of the men who served with my father in Vietnam. I find them so inspiring, and being in their presence made my father "come alive" to me. I was never blessed to have known him firsthand myself, but the force of his personality lives on through the memories of those who did know him, and I am ever so grateful for the opportunity to get to know them and hence, learn about my father. He was AWESOME, and I love and revere him so much. Thanks again for all your comments.
 
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