John-Ward Leighton


Photo ©Copyright 2010 by John-Ward Leighton
Photo ©Copyright 2010 by John-Ward Leighton
Although the actual day was a Friday,
the city wouldn’t allow
the veterans to parade on Broadway.
So we had our parade on the following Sunday.

Fifty years had passed
before the guns of 1914 August
started the four years of suffering in the fires
of the death throes of Kingdoms and Empires.

Four years of mud and blood
revolution and suffering
only to be repeated
twenty nine years later.

The Korean and WW2
vets marched in three ranks
WW1 marched in fours ranks as they had begun
my father as commander of the WW1.

The band struck up
and the Korean and WW2 vets
raggedly marched ahead
hardly more alive than dead.

The WW1 vets in their fours
old men now
some in time
some needing help and a bit lame.

Then before the saluting base
with pride now all in perfect pace
a smart eyes right
and the fifty years had taken their flight.

The years had magically fallen away
and at least for a moment
they were as young, fit and proud
as they had been in the day.

Now they all have passed away
and we only have the pictures and monuments.
I know them, I saw them, on that Sunday,
marching back lit out of the past.

They are in my heart and in my dreams
I know how strange that seems
with never a thought of surrendering
that wonderful thing about remembering.