Christina A. Sharik

(A Tribute to Our Men and Women in Uniform)

Part 1:

I went to work every
long and lonely day
with a baby at home
and my husband away –

I used to write poems
watch the news at night
visions of mud, running men
choppers in mid-flight –
Little bits and pieces
of fighting and of gore –
just enough to make you think,
and worry a little more.
Who would want to be
the last to die, so far
from home and family
in a dirty, muddy War?

My husband came home alone,
to no parade, you see –
Just one lonely airman
and his brass band was me.

Part 2:

The bands aren’t as silent
as they were before
30 years ago
in that other strange War –
(No thank you for them,
No parades or brass band;
Only loved ones waiting –
not the rest of the land…
their youth taken from them
when they went to War)
No more to be young men
No more “before” –
Only the since
the future
the now –
they’re coming to
grips but
I wonder how.

Now my son, in the Army
went off to Somalia
was sniped at and taunted
before he came home –
then he called from
a payphone
he wasn’t alone
the townspeople met them
late in the night
a marching band played
and the town was alight –
they served coffee and donuts
and I was grateful to them
for I hadn’t wanted
“no brass bands” for him

Part 3:

Most of the time
they come and they go.
Most people don’t care
and most people don’t know
who guards their freedom
every day of the year –
someone’s awake in the cold
and the hot –
Most people at home
don’t give them a thought –

What are their names –
what do they dream of –
are they lonely and tired
are they falling in love?
How far from home are they
what are their fears?

Every day they are due
brass bands
and our cheers.