Stephen E. Washam

THE OLD VET

I took my four year old one time to a July fourth parade
We found a place that offered us a little bit of shade
Sitting there close by to us was a white haired older man
His eyes were fixed on something as the parading soon began

My son was fascinated by the old man’s intense stare
And soon we saw he was looking at the flag waving in the air
It was the first thing passing by us as the parade began to start
And the old man struggled to his feet with his cap across his heart

As we stood next to this gentleman my young son asked me why
The older man was shaking and had a tear forming in his eye
Once we all were seated and the parade went on its way
We spoke with the older gentleman and proudly did he say

That he had served in the Marine Corps during World War Two
And he was very proud he’d served the red, white, and the blue
He said he’d lost his brother and his very dearest friend
But it had been an honor to have this country to defend

The older man then said he’d lost his son in Vietnam
And he said I couldn’t tell you just how proud of him I am
I hope that some will think about the sacrifice he made
So that we can all be here to watch this beautiful parade

The only person standing is the man in the wheelchair…!The old man then put his hand on my son’s tiny head
And he gently ruffled up his hair as quietly he said
My son’s name was James but we always called him Jim
And seeing you here with your Dad it makes me think of him

My son sat very quietly moving next to the old chap
And reached into the bag we’d brought to get his baseball cap
He put the cap upon his head as we watched a marching band
And slowly he reached up and took the old man by the hand

Soon another flag passed by and I was quick to realize
The old man wasn’t the only one with a tear forming in his eyes
My own eyes started misting as I stood there most impressed
As my son stood with a proud marine with his cap across his chest