On appreciating sacrifice

Written by: Wayne Sapp

The young lieutenant's uniform pressed and fit; a second skin he was young; strong, as once was I On his face the surety of innocence, it set his jaw, as mine had been back when good and bad were well defined. In the airport, where we met, inquired he of my service the boarding call disrupted my reply. "as a thank you for your service we will board our soldiers first." He stood to the applause of those nearby. Conflicted, I stood with him; forced my hands together as I thought about a briefing; South East Asia, Sixty Nine "Don't go home in your uniform, its best to change to civies. boys, this isn't something you have done, its just the country's mood." Faces of the dead came back from where I had them deeply buried. To rail against the irony unknowingly displayed. Enveloped in their bitterness I pocketed my hands. Yet, I knew I should be thankful the country finally found the will to separate the soldier from the war But forty years of silence wields cynicism's sword; vague crusades abandoned; honor still in question The spectre of a bloody flag in its time would touch us both different lands, each passion stained. Yours bellows, a cacophony; bugles known to me as mute. ...yet I applauded a coward to my own belief: the day will come your quest requires some willing men to hold that flag aloft! I bid you well lieutenant, for I surely know your sacrifice better than this airport crowd, perhaps, better than you. And forty years from now should you come upon a soldier, I will pray you can applaud him without anger.