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Another Remembrance Day

--by Bohdan Sirant, 2011 Another Remembrance Day or Veterans Day depending where you are A field of poppies worn on lapels like red stars on a blue blazer sky Another solemn grey day Its cool and windy out Drizzling just like last year A host of somber trench coats flags and and umbrellas A gaggle of politicians who have never had to find, fix, flank, and finish speak of the sacrifice the sacrifice the sacrifice A shivering schoolgirl recites In Flanders Fields If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep A smart-looking cadet recites Kiplings Recessional Lest we forget lest we forget Contagious quiet weeping The muster of colour guard and troops The sergeants shout Cannon blast Fluttering flags The missing man formation fly-past Another stirring drum roll Salutes, pipes, wreaths Children sing The bells toll The eleventh ring The last post The two minutes of sacred silence These will suffice My eyes still well up with tears as they often do even after all these years unexpectedly, when Im alone when I think back to those days and those great fellows

my brothers-in-arms my truest brothers my brothers of choice I think about those times a lot I can feel the sad unnatural weight of patinated medals on my chest A young woman next to me asks me about them I tell her I dont think of them individually but as an indivisible group like my squad, or platoon like a work of abstract art of found objects of arrayed stamped metal and colourful striped ribbons Gongs, fruit salad, wind chimes book markers, price tags chest candy Ive heard them called all kinds of things in jest I like the cross the most but only for its design Some medals may be deserved some not I can also feel the lightness of the medals that perhaps I should have got but didnt And of the medals I didnt deserve and didnt get And some that others should have got Maybe Im wearing the wrong medals Maybe someone else should be wearing them Many who deserved them didnt get them It all seems so unfair Arbitrary and random now Deep in my heart I know that I am proud to wear them as mementos to the true warriors I knew And must wear them not for myself anymore but on behalf of everyone

every guy and gal who went to fight our wars especially the fallen and the wounded injured, crippled or amputated physically and mentally They lost a lot more than I did I came out OK Better than most But a lot didnt I really wear these medals For my old pals Who are my true heroes I think a lot of the vets here probably feel the same way We are the lucky ones who get to wear this hardware on behalf of those who couldnt make it or are no longer here I fought for my buddies and they fought for me They died for me too These medals are theirs I wear these medals for them I know theyll probably end up in some militaria collection after Im gone Hopefully Ill wear them many more times on occasions like this Now our motley company leaves the park headed for the reception My knees ache and Im getting cold I hope they serve that hot and spicy Ravioli again I need a drink We complain about the lack of medical care and benefits We wonder What ever happened to whatshisname? or whatshername? I hope he comes this time I hope I see her again It will be fun to share and rehash old war stories

but only the funny ones The others we keep to ourselves And at sundown we drink to the fallen the MIAs, the POWs the maimed, the invalids, and all those who played the game We keep the faith We remember them We revere their every name We keep the watchfires burning We are the keepers of the flame