I wrote this poem many years ago after taking my family to visit the portable version of the Vietnam Memorial Wall which was visiting our town. It is called the “Moving Wall” because it is portable. However, it was emotionally one of the most ‘moving’ experiences of my life. Even though these verses were inspired by those valiant Americans whose names are engraved on that black wall, it is nonetheless a tribute to each and every person who has ever died in the service of our country. When this was written, my son whom I mentioned was about 6. He is now a 25 year old United States Marine Corps Reserve, and an Afghan vet. He is my hero.
I saw your name then sometime later,
Graduation day had come.
You walked up proud and took the scroll
That your hard work had won.
I saw your name in another season
And smiled to myself as I read
Of a young married couple just starting out
With a promise and dreams ahead.
I saw your name a few months later
But this time it worried me.
Your name, and others, on a long list
Training for war overseas.
I saw your name and uttered a prayer
For you and your young family.
I knew of your character and duty-bound love
For country, for God, and for me.
I saw your name and thought of your father
Who fought in another time.
And he, just like you, hated to leave
His wife, and new son behind.
I saw your name just yesterday
And my heart broke as mist filled my eyes.
You were killed with some buddies while out on patrol
Where many a good young man dies.
I saw your name on a glossy black wall
And as my throat became tight,
My chest swelled slightly with pride for a man
Who thought freedom was well worth the fight.
I saw your name in the deep black reflection
of the face of my dearest young son,
And prayed he would never be called on to go,
But would cherish the liberty won.
I saw your name and wondered just how
I might thank your family,
For sacrifice made for people unknown,
As well as my family, and me.
I saw your name and thought that perhaps
Despite lack of glory and fame,
It may be enough to think of you now,
And tell them that I saw your name.
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