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For My Marine Son

August 31, 2015

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There you stood speaking your oath out loud

With all the others so tall and proud

Swearing the Constitution to uphold

Pledging your allegiance fearless and bold

You left for boot camp raring to go

To get the training to beat the foe

You did not know what lay ahead

Only what you heard, what others said

And then came the day I dreaded most

Your orders to leave your beloved coast

You were headed for danger, into harm’s way

I wanted so badly for you to stay

The morning you left there were stars in the sky

I wanted to hold you, I wanted to cry

But I had to remember you were no longer my pup

And like you, I would “suck it up”

They sent you to a land far, far away

A place called the “sandbox,” a place not to play

They gave you a gun, put it in your hand

Then issued the order to conquer the land

New Rules of Engagement tied your hands

How would you fight upon these sands

You saw your brothers killed in battle

But did not allow your mind to rattle

Through every deployment I was there

Always on my knees, always in prayer

Hoping for safety from place to place

Trusting in God to return you home safe

You did your best, you fought with heart

The time had come for you to depart

Returning home, a dream come true

To the ones you love, and who love you

You look unchanged, yet not the same

The question is, who is to blame

Your lips may smile, but your eyes do not

They reveal the wounds of battles fought

Time lessens the horrors of the war

Memories that remain help soften the scar

What you have done should bring no regret

You did what you had to, we will never forget

© 2015 Sylvia Van Peebles

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