Thurman P. Woodfork

SPEECHES AND MEDALS

Thurman P. Woodfork: Speeches and MedalsThe weapons have changed,
But the soldiers are the same:
So proclaims a TV commercial
Advertising a game.

Through all the gory turmoil
Of Man’s contentious history,
The Cohorts and the Tommies,
The GIs like you and me,

Mostly drift away, forgotten,
Once our patriotic duty is done,
Designated ‘Yesterday’s Heroes’
When there are no wars to be won

Or age and infirmity have
So affected our reflexes
We can no longer swiftly react
To the demands of war’s excesses.

Wounded bodies and psyches,
Mangled in those glorious wars,
Get bandages, speeches, and medals
And precious little more.

Proud veterans bearing scars, both
Visible and hidden from sight,
Wear those medals on special days,
But some secretly weep at night,

Haunted by thoughts and visions
Bandages and medals cannot ease,
Forever beset by stalking demons
No speech will ever appease.