Christina A. Sharik


“Welcome Back”
Some 30 years later, they still say that
to each other. Back then, they came
home one by one –
On civilian planes, unappreciated and unknown –
24 hours from Hell to Home.
(Whatever happened to the Norman Rockwell scenes-
the ones where all the soldiers,
sailors and Marines
got off a boat or a train and were met by bands
and loved ones and started over again?)
With Vietnam it seemed
that if “he” wasn’t there
(that someone really close to you)
you didn’t have to care.
In my heart, I was there
at every plane, at every ship and train –
I waved a flag; I cried and hugged them all –
and with a kiss, I whispered low –
It’s all right now, I know, I know.
I wished them hope and peace
and the knowledge that
they weren’t alone.
Please accept my thanks
and this belated

Author’s Note: This poem was read by John Loftus, VFW Commander in Edgewater Park, NJ at the 1998 Veterans’ Day ceremony at the Beverly National Cemetery. He also read “Thanksgiving Prayer”. Thanks, John.

This poem also inspired the response, “Welcome Home” ~ ©Copyright circa 1997 by Dan Decker, USAF (Rtd)