Monday, 30 March 2009

Guy's War Story

(A true war story as recalled by Guy, a retired Marine, and presently a resident of a convalescent home in New Jersey)

He liked to say he had some shrapnel in his head
but I'm afraid that's not the only thing he said...

With his working arm he wheeled his broken body down the hall
pushing buttons of the nurses, you could say the man had gall.

He said, " Hey, you little blond, I don't believe I caught your name,
but I could shoot my AK rifle", then he talked about his aim,

"I'm not kidding, were it fitting, I could take you out right now,
and you'd never see it coming, 'Special Ops' ", and I said, "Wow!"

He said " I could tell you stories that would spin your head around,
cause I've seen a lot of action, 'fore the shrapnel took me down".

Then he pointed to the helmet, that sat high upon his head
" I'm an invalid, disordered, yes, but surely not brain-dead".

Had I met this man some other way, say walking down the street,
I'd be running for my life because, you know, he'd pack some heat.

A greater man, but nonetheless, a shell of what he'd been
not to listen to his story, would have truly been a sin.

I believe I caught the glimmer of a hope within his eyes
that I'd ask to hear about it and be shocked beyond surprise.

So I smiled at him and said, "I've got some time to kill here, Guy,
do slay me with your story and in detail, please don't lie."

"A Marine I am. I served in 'Nam, sent back to guide our men,
I knew the lay of Jungleland, and believed that we could win.

I would teach 'em how to stay alive and get it done
without a leader, they'd go down before setting sun.

I led my troops in battle and I kept them all alive
taught em everything they'd never learned in boot-camp to survive.

And everything went well until one night it went to hell
when on a mission I was ambushed and this story I will tell:

Taken prisoner, beat and blindfolded, then forced to walk for miles
they took their turns at night guard, while we tried to sleep a while.

But all along I waited, for I knew the stupid one would
look away and turn back looking~ down the barrel of his gun.

And sure enough it happened, that the Doofus looked away,
but I was there, right on trigger, and I took their lives that day.

I broke out of the darkness and ran south for several days~
although I'd learned the landscape well, my head was in a daze.

When suddenly I heard them, distant voices, English speaking,
and I came upon a hedge in which I hid, but did some peeking.

And what I saw, believe me, was the best dream of the day
I burst right through and ran to, waiting arms~ the USA!

That was not the last time, I came back to 'Nam again
caught some shrapnel in my head, you know, and here I am, the end".

I do believe this soldier is just one of countless men
who spend their days in nursing homes confined, without a friend.

For years before and years to come, there will be guys like Guy
who need to share their war stories with folks like you and I.

And when we stop to listen, to appreciate the cost
we honor not the killing, but the living and the lost.

We validate the struggle, and the things they've overcome
encouraged in the battle, 'til the final war is won.

He liked to say he had some shrapnel in his head
but I'm afraid that's not the only thing he said...

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