I met a veteran from World War II
who, eighty-three, reached out to shake my hand;
at Normandy, who'd seen his brethren killed,
now walks the streets of Berlin, Maryland.
He models life, simple yet abundant,
by stocking up a van with meat and cheese
and, seeking out the tired, poor, and hungry,
and greeting them with a "thank you", and "please".
He mentioned D-Day once, as I recall -
said he couldn't number those he had slain,
yet, the other soldiers jumping with him
all dead the moment they leapt from the plane.
To think, this man, who held the mortal coil
of all the nations longing to be free,
who vowed to suffer death, should it have him,
would stoop to honor men, the likes of me.
I asked myself "do I take for granted
my freedom, bled and died for, in this land",
the day a veteran from World War II,
at eighty-three, reached out to shake my hand.