Gary Jacobson

TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME
(For Memorial Day, 2004)

To veterans who’ve taken that long way home
From war’s devastating maelstrom to young boys-next-door fearsome
I write this sacred poem
A Memorial to shining days bygone
To men among men, for time immemorial
Men standing in gloried honor, tall proud, exceptional
All America bows before you now, in respect salutational.

Veterans who’ve taken the long way home
Walked throughout eternities where warriors for guilt atone
Never forget brothers, for you never walked alone
Remember back where you found the man, when the boy was lost
Remember rice paddies, jungles, deserts, or war’s black frost
Battles in the killing fields horrific cost,
Death so quiet, overpowering, so loud, by war tempest tossed.

Salute now those veterans who took the longest way home
Men who now set on high, at the Master’s throne.
Remember brave men who in sand, mud and blood
Sacrificed very being for the brotherhood
Men and women who answered their nation’s call,
Patriots who on land, sea and air gave their all
Defenders of right, who fighting for their country died
For them a generation of mothers, for beloved sons sorely cried.

Veterans who’ve taken the long way home
Now shout hurrah for the red, white and blue
For countless boys-next-door who bore her too
Forever emblazoning our hearts,
Filling eyes with foggy dew imparts
Following their example, the world could not go wrong
With good arms, courageous, and mighty strong
May we always sing our veteran’s praises, victories proudest song.

‘Tis the twilight of our years since we’ve taken that long way home
Seasons come and gone, leaving hearts as a stone.
O my brothers, try hard to forget
What we boys did as a nation, do not regret
Do not let bestial past with present happiness fidget
Climb out of that foxhole
Try to forget, where you killed to reconcile a nation’s goal…
Now let peaceful calm, sooth your warriors weary being whole.

Harmonize cruel battle’s horrors with love, family, life
Wring out long ago war’s primordial strife
Trauma that cuts like a knife…
Let loose its hating demons who the good life disdain
Haunting with fear and egregious pain.
Harvest the good in life, like golden fields of grain
Put away combatant anger, to truly live again.

Breathe in this sacred air, peaceful contentment flowing free
Distilled in purest bastions of hallowed liberty…
Mountains held in majesty supernal, because of thee
Our freedoms by danger dearly bought
Sowing a lifetime of memories of war’s barbarity fraught
Through sacrifice, nobly wrought
Giving revered autonomy, long-suffering people’s sought.

Whether you enlisted in service for the long-haul career
Or drafted, toured the battle zone for that longest year
A year that did strong men’s hearts with war shock sear
Planting memories to last a lifetime in wounded fear
To one who in honor served, did his duty…well done
I know World War’s I and II, weren’t much durn fun
Boys from Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf, hailed war’s setting sun.

Welcome veterans, who took the long way home
Through trials and tribulations by war affected to the very bone.
So when you see the rockets red glare, bombs bursting in air,
All America should know…you were there
Drawing a line in the sand…battling tyrannies on every hand!
Because of thee, we breathe free in this land!