The old veteran leaned on his cane watching the passing parade,
The usual equestrians, John Deere tractors, the local fire brigade.
With a trembling hand he saluted Old Glory as it passed by.
His chest swelled with pride - tears welled up in each eye.
The National Anthem streamed thro' his brain which he could yet cite!
(O', say, can you see by the dawn's early light.)
He recalled storming Normandy's shores with bombs screaming!
(What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming.)
His only concern midst battles' din was for comrades, left and right!
(Whose broad stripes and bright stars thro' the perilous night.)
He enlisted at age seventeen to keep freedom's torch beaming!
(O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming.)
He fought all thro' Europe and was honored to have done his share!
(And the rockets' red glare, and the bombs bursting in air.)
He thanked God that he survived due to his Mother's earnest prayer!
(Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.)
He remembered brothers who lay sleeping in hallowed grave,
(O', say, does the star-spangled banner yet wave.)
Who placed national interest above self, forfeiting life they freely gave!
(O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.)
He slowly lowered his trembling and gnarled hand to his side.
The old warrior stood tall that day and others noticed his pride!
He was honored to know the colors would grace his bier one day.
He watched 'til Old Glory was gone from sight and slowly shuffled away.
Robert L. Hinshaw, CMSgt, USAF, Retired
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