Mark I. Kirkmeyer

“WITH THE THANKS OF A GRATEFUL NATION”

The honor guard
Pressed green uniform
Black berets
Lift and fold the flag
From the mahogany coffin
A fallen son, brother, father
Commander accepts the flag
Turns to the family and presents
“With the thanks of a grateful nation.”
What are we thanking him/them for?

Are we thanking him/them for his service;
For placing others’ lives before his own,
For facing the dragon defending the vale,
For leaving behind those gathered here,
Accepting chaos to restore order?
What are we thanking him/them for?

Are we thanking him/them for he’s dead?
Here’s your check, don’t bother us anymore
The check for the fallen
Less than the cost of caring for survivors
Those survivors who didn’t die
Lives never the same
Body, mind, spirit, and soul damaged

These men and women know the truth
The nation is grateful that the warrior died
This is known through the treatment of survivors.
Denial, excuses, and cutbacks
Survivors know they are a burden
To the nation and family.