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The Veteran

Dedicated to Sgt. Raymond Russo, USAAC, (ret.) and all who have sacrificed for our freedom.

I was in the town park late one night,

Near the Fourth of July,

And I saw an aged veteran,

And the people passing by.

He sat all alone in the darkness,

His body worn by the years,

And as I watched him sitting there,

His eyes were dimmed with tears.

He’d flown the planes,

He’d manned the guns,

His buddies had crashed and burned,

And this—this was the country to which he had returned.

The people hurried to and fro,

Never giving him a thought,

Nor caring in their busyness,

That this man for them had fought.

He tried to tell them of his story,

They could not understand,

Whenever he began to speak, they said,

“We don’t have time, old man.”

He’d not fought for God or country,

But for his buddy’s life,

And now, these words, so careless,

They cut him like a knife.

And he watched them as they wandered,

So cheerful and free of care,

Heedless of the man who’d fought with pride,

To preserve their freedoms–over there.

Across the park, a band struck up,

Began to play our country’s theme,

He struggled to his feet, his head held high,

In his eyes there came a gleam.

For this it was for which he’d fought,

America, his home, his land,

But now the people, her citizens,

They did not understand.

For them the Fourth was nothing more,

Than a party—a celebration,

They’d all forgot it had taken men like him,

Whose sacrifice had forged our nation.

The anthem finished and darkness fell,

And fireworks lit up the skies,

And as he sat there all alone,

The tears, they filled his eyes. . .

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