A long, long time ago
I can still remember
how that music
And I knew if I had my chance
that I could make those
maybe they'd be
for a while
Nothing in particular had brought us to this stop, save the need to stretch legs folded long hours in the truck, conversation run through all present possibles, and the open sky and horizon calling. I spied the plaque as we rolled to a halt; darkened by age, scoured by the sand and salt winds, scarred by abuse at the hands of fools whose hearts would not know honor or valor should either wander so far afield as to visit them.
My father served, at the beginning of that strange and terrible time known euphamistically as the "Southeast Asian Conflict".
I watched as my father traced the words with his eyes, reading aloud in a low voice the name of the Air Group commemorated there, and their dead. He sighed, and I had never in my entire life witnessed so much sadness in one human being.
Then he snapped erect, thirty-five years out of the uniform, and his salute was crisp, his head high, his face distant and proud.
"This one is for you, guys."
And in that instant, I loved my father more than any man alive.
Thank you to all the veterans, living and dead, of our military forces. Your call may be ineffable to many, but its history, and honor, remain. Our freedoms, and the beauty we too often take for granted, have been constructed and preserved on your blood and sacrifice, your undying valor and belief in the Dream.