Melissa G. Hunter

ORDERS

Orders came in for the company,
Moving out in the morning you were told.
The men in the company slept fitfully,
Some wondering, “Will any of us ever grow old?”

Your mission was a special one
Close to all your hearts.
Under the cover of darkness
Is where it got its start.

Choppers took you to the drop point,
Eighty-pound rucksacks on your backs.
A treacherous trip through the jungle
To free American soldiers from a POW camp.

The last two clicks through the jungle,
In total silence you crept.
At last you could see the camp¹s tower
Marking where your fellow soldiers were kept.

Your mission was to free them –
The camp was full, they said.
You waited silently as the new day dawned,
Then came the order you couldn¹t understand.

There would be no invasion of the camp
Because the brothers you were to rescue weren’t there
The long journey to the camp, adrenalin flooding your system –
It was almost more than you could bear.

Retreat? We are here! They are almost close enough to touch.
Let us strike! In and out, get them and be gone.
Every ounce of your being filled with horror
You knew they were in there, this is wrong!

So many years have come and gone
Since that gut-wrenching day.
And still you sit and agonize the travesty
Someone… God why?… sent the company away…

Author’s Note: I wrote this poem based on a story my husband Rod told me while on our way to the VA hospital in Marion Illinois. I wrote it while he was being treated.