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Long the roads we’ve traveled since last I saw my friend. Much now lies between us that I can’t comprehend. For I remember Daniel, a bright and lusty lad, Not the man I see before me looking tired, worn and sad. Forty years now stand between us since last I shook his hand, Shared the road he travels and heard the things he’d planned. Forty years of life and living can be a heavy load, It leaves its mark upon us as we travel down its road. Yet some of us aren’t happy with the burdens that we bear, We take up yet another, carry far more than our share. So it is with Daniel, or so I’ve heard some say, He’s assumed a load of guilt he just can’t put away. In a far off foreign country nearly forty years ago; Exactly what had happened I guess I’ll never know. The smell of fear hung heavy, the dead lay on the ground, And Dan picked up the burden he never will put down. For though the dead were many he had lived to walk away. They gave all of their tomorrows and he’s stuck in yesterday. The guilt’s a heavy burden, it haunts him yet today And fills each night with terror when its ghosts come out to play. For in the dark the horrors assault him once again, A never-ending battle that he can never win. So nightly, in the darkest hours, safe in our beds we lie, While Daniel duels the demons of the dead he can’t let die.
On this Veterans Day 2002 I would like to dedicate this poem to all the American Veterans who have served their country in whatever capacity. We all honor those who gave their “Last Full Measure of Devotion” to preserve and protect the freedoms we enjoy. Much will be said about them and all who currently serve in the Armed Forces. I would also like to remember and honor those, like Daniel, who will continue to pay the price of our freedom all the days of their lives.
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