After attending a "Welcome home Viet Nam Vets" parade, seven years after the war ended.
The welcome home parade.
Old soldiers wearing pieces of their past,
ill fitting memories brought home from a war,
the pride was absent when they wore them last;
a thing they never had, they can't restore.
Expressions from the sidewalk are solemn
as marchers on the street recall a year
of fighting men; rank file and column;
of sacrifice and ridicule, and fear.
Echo's of the bugle are a memory;
the blood of fallen warriors gone to dust;
final chapters in this plotless story,
lost with precious life and a soldier's trust
The polititions listened to the street,
unbending warriors tasted the defeat.
Forming up to once more beside a brother,
step out in time and hear the cadence call
behind a flag that lay upon a soldier,
and flies behind a long black marble wall.
Conflicted thoughts masked by nervous laughter
or drowned with bottled courage by a few,
Men with matching patches on their shoulder
are asking after someone they once knew.
Up ahead the rain has soaked the bunting,
and legless men in wheelchairs side by side;
loved ones holding pictures of the missing,
and clinging still to hope that has not died.
For Vets of Viet Nam one thing is sure,
the rains that fell on this parade endure.