Robin Amy Bass


The News says you’re “Missing in Action”
TV calls you “Prisoner of War”
They shorten those phrases to L.E.T.T.E.R.S.
And most of the time just ignore

The flags that are raised in your honor
Or lowered – at times – to half mast
My Aunt says – “I thought that was over,
How long must you live in the past?”

They stare at my car with the magnets
Sis asks, “Do you really need two?
Then says, “It’s a shame – what a pity
But really… what else can we do?”

I say “There’s a day to remember”
Her kid asks “Hey, will they close school?”
But most go about their own business
Concerned that they will not look cool

And really, it isn’t they’re problem
They don’t know a soul who’s at war
They turn off the news and watch baseball
Or see what’s on sale at the store

And really, I can’t point a finger
Invite them to share in the pain
Or tell them how I see these faces
Of soldiers who never would blame

The callous or those who are shallow
The ones who don’t know what they’ve lost
The price of admission is haunting
And I cannot measure its cost

I know it’s a ticket worth having
Though, my seat is off to the side
‘Cause I’m not the person who’s missing
And I’m not a soldier who died

And I’m not a mother who’s grieving
And my man came back from the war
I’m told that I should pick my battles
(Though some of his spirit goes missing)
It’s not up to me to keep score

Yet, all of my life, I’ve heard stories
Of those who have gone in my place
Of soldiers who’re missing in actions
Of prisoners, just gone – not a trace!

Does that mean they never existed?
Because they’re not here anymore
The ones with the strength and the willing
Who stood up and went off to war

Who gave all they had with such courage
And heroism – they would deny
So tell me? How can we forget them?
I can’t think of one reason why

To try and deny their existence
When we are the ones, in their debt
To pick just one day to remember
And choose other days to forget

Is something I should not be doing
I can’t speak for others – just me
The Prisoners of War and the Missing
Have somehow become… family

And so now I have Sisters and Brothers
And some talk to me from the sky
But one of them always asks questions
The other night he asked me why

We walk past his name, on a statue
Some stare at his name on a wall
His love brings him roses and flowers
But most cannot see him at all.

He knows that his love won’t forget him
But most can’t remember his name
He tells me “My name isn’t Johnny!”
They act as if we’re all the same”

I tell him “Try not to get angry
“I know we’re all different – it’s true
So look for the people who love you
I know that there must be a few

‘Cause some of us try an remember
And some of us never Forget
And some us know you are special
And some of us do not regret

The time that we spend with your shadow
Although we would rather have you
For now, you are living inside us
For now – it’s the best I can do

To talk of you – like you are heroes
To speak of you – like you are men
To honor – protect and remember…
We cannot forget you… again